Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

Paperback, 306 pages
Published May 19th 2009 by Ballantine Books (first published June 17th 2008) 
ISBN:  0345502833 (ISBN13: 9780345502834)
primary language:  English
original title:  The Wednesday Sisters
4 stars
Goodreads Synopsis:
Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.

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.

Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.

My Thoughts:
This may be one of my favorite light reads of the year. I am a sucker for stories that center around a reading or writing group (or whatever common interest it may be), particularly when a group of women are gathering initially because of their common interest, and become friends, confidantes and sources of strength & support as the years progress. I would love to be a part of a group like this...and perhaps I am in some sense. These are satisfying, friendship-affirming stories that explore the layers of women's relationships with each other. This book in particular appealed to me, not only because of these factors, but because the women gathered specifically to write...corporately, regularly, critique realistically & constructively, and to become better writers because of their relationship with each other. I loved that their relationships deepened, their candor as both writers & critics becaame more refined, and in the end, their support for each other withstood many setbacks (some serious) without breaking. There's a little bit of everything in this story, it is delivered with skill, and it is ultimately satisfying.

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