December 28, 2011

Review of "The Magic Room"

First off, I would like to thank BlogHer and the Penguin Group for allowing me to be a part of the blog tour for this very enjoyable book.  I was given a free ARC of The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow, and a small monetary compensation for the time I invested in reading and reviewing the work.  However, if you know my blog at all, you know I pull no punches, so if I say I enjoyed the book, I did.  My reviews are not for sale.

In a bridal shop that is virtually the only remaining industry in its small mid-Western town, there is a room with soft lighting, deep, footstep-hushing carpet, and a pedestal.  Women step onto that pedestal as prospective brides hoping for something extraordinary.  They leave it, usually in tears, as brides who have found "the dress."  Jeffrey Zaslow takes us on that journey not just with one, but through the true and sometimes heart-rending stories of numerous brides in search of their dreams.  As we quickly learn, in many ways the dress is just the final symbol of that complete fairytale ending that all brides hope for and some never find.

There are stories in The Magic Room of women from so many different ages and walks of life that any reader is bound to identify with one of them.  Yes, I do mean any reader, because men are as integral a part of each of these stories as the blushing brides.  Loving fathers, supportive brothers, husbands amazing or alcoholic--virtually every type of man is present in the interwoven tales, as well.  Moreover, Zaslow has grasped what the dress hunt means to women in a way that may clear up some of the mystery for any man willing to read this book.

Only one aspect of the book requires some advance notice.  Many of these stories are full of very gritty realism.  There is little in the work that the conservative reader would find offensive, but an account in which an individual is gravely injured may prove overpowering to some, as the author describes the person's wounds in gruesome detail.  There was nothing gratuitous about Zaslow's handling of the event; it was a true story, and only with such grim specifics could Zaslow give the reader a complete picture of what the character was facing.  Still, anyone who faints easily may wish to skim those few pages.  I honestly nearly lost consciousness myself.

Leaving aside those of us who can never look at the fake blood on medical dramas, however, this was a genuinely interesting and heartwarming read.  I quickly grew to care about each of Jeffrey Zaslow's subjects, felt that he had sketched each of them as a fully-fledged individual in a way that kept me reading their personal sagas and cheering them on.  The Magic Room reaches below the exterior, the potentially frivolous elements of wedding plans, and leaves us with a deeper examination of why these things matter to us.  I would recommend it to anyone who is in any way connected to an upcoming wedding, to anybody who enjoys a good romance, and for all those who just appreciate a well-written, entertaining book in which they might learn something.


  1. This sounds fantastic! And how great is it that you got a small monetary reward? The time and effort it takes to review these books sometimes is quite substantial so I'm happy to see that you received a little something for it! Well done :)

    Megan @ Storybook Love Affair


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