I should have realized that agreeing to do a book review so soon after Christmas would leave me putting off reading the book, but in the end, it didn’t matter much. Once I finally started reading, I had trouble putting it down and those are the best kinds of books.
The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow weaves together the stories of life and shattered dreams and hope from several women — daughters — as they intersect on a small pedestal of a mirrored room in a bridal shop in a small midwestern town. It is a story about love, from the kind expressed at home to the kind hoped for while selecting the perfect dress for the wedding day. Each of the women travelled a different path to this spot. Whether abused, divorced, widowed or sheltered within an intact and loving family, all view their experiences as strengths that will see them through this next phase of their lives.
I enjoyed each of the stories. The mother refusing help with the dishes year after year as her legacy of love to her daughter who now has fond memories of her mother every time she washes dishes left me pondering how our lives might be affected by continually and intentionally viewing household chores as acts of love and humble service. The love for an infant who died in a simple accident that was shared with siblings who never met her and that affected their views on love and commitment and loss left me hopeful that my children will carry more from this last year than just the hurt of losing their brother. And of course the refreshing commitment of a group of sisters who had made vows of purity and saved their first kiss made me hopeful that my daughters, too, might approach their “happily ever afters” with such seriousness.
I thought of my own dress, borrowed from my aunt and hemmed by my grandmother as I waited to walk down the aisle that was decorated by the ladies of the church. There was nothing flashy. The entire thing didn’t cost much more than what most brides pay for just the dress now. And the ring . . . well, when I read that the jewelry industry is setting a standard that the young man should expect to pay two months salary on the ring, my jaw dropped. I know how much my ring cost because I gave him the money to buy it before I went to class. He had spent almost all he had coming to America, but if he had spent that kind of money on a ring, I think I would have said no.
So far, it seems to have served us well. What was your wedding dress like? Did you have time to reflect on the new life you were about to begin, or were you too overwhelmed with the details and excitement over the wedding to worry much about what came next? And did anyone else go from proposal to wedding in one month?
Disclosure: This is a paid review for which I also received a free copy of the book, The Magic Room, however all opinions are my own and were not influenced by any one else.