Monday, September 29, 2008

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton

The Wednesday Sisters is a light and entertaining read about friendship and loyalty. The "sisters" (who are not really sisters,) are comprised of 5 women who first meet in a neighborhood park in Palo Alto, California during the late 1960's. Each of the women is assigned a role early on by the narrator, Frankie, and none of them stray far from these early perceptions. Frankie is a quiet Midwesterner, Linda is brash and outspoken, Kath is a Southern belle, Ally is mousy and secretive, and Brett is brilliant and always wears white gloves. All are married and have children, or are trying to have children.

The group starts out meeting regularly on Wednesday mornings, discussing their families, married life, as well as slowly discovering who they really are. Eventually they start a writing group, with a shove from Linda (the pushy one, of course.) Though it starts out slowly, the women learn to be honest rather than polite when critiquing one another's work, and the characters grow into themselves through this process, learning to balance their home lives with their writing, while gaining a level of success along the way. The writing also gives the friends some insight into one another's lives, helping them understand each person's unique point of view.

As the novel progresses, the women each come into their own while sticking together through all that life throws at them, including marital strife, illness, infertility, and the social unrest that is prevalent during this period in history. The ending I found a bit unlikely, as if the author was trying to wrap everything up with an incredible, tie-up-all-lose-ends-and-make-everything-okay ending, which feels forced in this case. Book clubs looking for something a little less heavy might want to look into this title - I read it for a club, and I am looking forward to a lively discussion!

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