Warning: Potential spoilers in this review
The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton
From the back of the book:
“When five young mothers – Frankie, Linda, Kath, Ally and Brett – first meet in a neighborhood park in the late 1960s, their conversations center on marriage, raising children, and shared love of books. Then one evening, as they gather to watch the Miss America Pageant, Linda admits that she aspires to write a novel herself, and the Wednesday Sisters Writing Society is born. The five women slowly, and often reluctantly, start filling journals, sliding pages into typewriters, and sharing their work. In the process, they explore the changing world around them: the Veitnam War, the race to the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they believe about themselves. At the same time the friends carry one another through more personal changes – ones brought by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success. With one another’s support and encouragment, the Wednesday Sisters begin to embrace who they are and what they hope to become, welcoming readers to experience, along with them the power o dreaming big.”
This was the book club pick for July. I really enjoyed this book, but I must have spaced out when reading the back cover of the book, because I was not expecting the stories about infidelity and illness. Our book club has been (unintentionally) on a streak of rather serious books. And we were hoping for a somewhat lighter read this month. There were some funny moments in the book, but overall it’s a serious read and a good choice for a book club selection if you are in the mood for serious.
What I liked about the book: The relationship between the women. Clayton does an excellent job of portraying true, strong friendships. They are not perfect and they make mistakes which makes the story all the more real. Friends don’t always say the right thing and they don’t always do the right things, but true friends work beyond that and that is what happens with the Wednesday sisters. This story also appealed to me because I often dream of being a writer. I also liked the many literary connections. Each of the women has a model book that they base their writing on – no they are not copying the book – rather it’s their inspiration. I also liked that the author included a reading guide at the end of the book. That’s very helpful to book clubs who like to have a guide to follow when discussing a book, but this book works well for book clubs that like to formulate their own questions.
What I didn’t like about the book: The infidelity and breast cancer stories made this a difficult read for me. It wasn’t that they were handled in a bad way, they were just difficult topics. However, I did love the way the women rallied around Linda and supported her through her treatments (once they found out what she was going through.) And the Tonight Show episode was hilarious. The main thing I did not like about this book was the ending. I found it to be rather abrupt.
Overall, I found this this to be a good read and would recommend it for other book clubs.
Did my book club like it? It’s hard to tell as we were too busy celebrating my new job to spend too much time discussing the book. Though most of the members did say they enjoyed the coffin scene – now if you find that intriguing, you should read the book to find out more about it.