Feb 6, 2013

The Wednesday Sisters

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

My rating: 4 stars

Overview from Goodreads: For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.

As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.

I really liked this book, but it took me about 50 pages or so to get into it. It wasn't bad by any means, but for some reason it was easy to put down.

However, once I got into it, it simply flew.

I've read plenty of books about women's friendships, but this story felt different. These characters were similar to each other but different, each struggling with their own battles (some private, others not). But they started reading books together, and then writing books together, and the camaraderie they formed was wonderful to see unfold.

A lot of times when I pull quotes from a book it's the prose, but the first quote that really jumped out at me, was in the middle of a conversation between the characters. They were discussing Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany's:

 "...she supposed she liked the way Holly just decides whom she wants to be and becomes that. 'And the way she so easily abandons her past without ceasing to love it,' she said." (pg 81)

I really like how the author wove all the women's stories together. You'd focus on one and that would fade as another would surface, but it would be brought full circle later on.

My favorite part about good writing is when you can relate to a story in a way that has nothing to do with the plot line. This ended up being the case for me. I started this book in December, trying to escape my emotions, and it surprised me when I came across so much that struck home.

"And I suppose it's worse to live life without expectation than to live through the pain of expectations crushed, but it never feels that way in the moment, it always feels as though life would be so much easier if only you could stop hoping for things that would never come." (pg 198)

I would definitely recommend you read this book!

Have you read The Wednesday Sisters? What did you think?


Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

I have read this book and I also LOVED it! I love that quote that you shared at the end, I think I might have included that one in a discussion when we talked about it on Emily's blog for our book club. I just really loved all the stories and I liked that it was set during a time when my mom was at a similar age!

Nora said...

Loved this book; Lisa recommended it to me and it was (and is) one of my favorites that I read in 2012. Such a beautiful story across the board.

Mandy said...

I think this was a Lisa recommended book and I really loved it! Stories about women and friendships are near and dear to my heart. You may want to read Let's Take the Long Way Home.

The Many Thoughts of a Reader said...

I read it a couple summers ago and devoured it! If I were a re-reader, it would be high on my list to re-read.

Amber said...

I feel the exact same way as you. It took me a bit to get into but once I was into it the book flew by! I think it was because there were so many main characters so it took some time to really get to know them and become invested in them. I also loved this book!

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