The Magic Room: A Story about the Love We Wish for Our Daughters

The Magic Room: A Story about the Love We Wish for Our Daughters

3.9 25
by Jeffrey Zaslow, Sandra Burr
     
 

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Thousands of women have stepped inside Becker’s Bridal in Fowler, Michigan, to try on their dream dressesin the Magic Room, a special space with soft lighting, a circular pedestal, and mirrors that carry a bride’s reflections into infinity. The women bring with them their most precious expectations about romance, love, fidelity, permanence, and tradition.…  See more details below

Overview

Thousands of women have stepped inside Becker’s Bridal in Fowler, Michigan, to try on their dream dressesin the Magic Room, a special space with soft lighting, a circular pedestal, and mirrors that carry a bride’s reflections into infinity. The women bring with them their most precious expectations about romance, love, fidelity, permanence, and tradition. Each bride who passes through has a story to tell — one that carried her there, to that dress, that room, that moment.

Illuminating the poignant aspects of a woman’s journey to the altar, The Magic Room tells the stories of memorable women on the brink of commitment. Run by the same family for four generations, Becker’s has witnessed transformations in how America views the institution of marriage: some of the shop’s clientele are becoming step-mothers, some are older brides, some are pregnant. Shop owner Shelley has a special affection for all the brides, hoping their journeys will be easier than hers. Wall Street Journal columnist Jeffrey Zaslow tells their true stories using a reporter’s research and a father’s heart.

The stories Zaslow shares from within the Magic Room are at times joyful, at times heart- breaking, and offers with insights on marriage, family, and the lessons that parents — especially mothers — pass on to their daughters about love. Weaving together secrets, memories, and family tales, The Magic Room explores the emotional lives of women in the twenty-first century.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This tender, intimate study of the changing nature of wedlock by journalist Zaslow (The Girls from Ames) traces the many generations of devoted customers at a Michigan bridal shop. Once upon a time, when Becker’s Bridal shop in the tiny middle-class town of Fowler, Mich., first opened during the Depression, it took the bride-to-be and her mother an average of an hour to try on three or four of matriarch Eva Becker’s modestly priced dresses; now it takes at least 30 tries and numerous hours to seize on the right gown—at a cost of to ,600 per. The current owner, Eva’s granddaughter Shelley Becker Mueller, a 45-year-old divorcée whose daughter, Alyssa, works with her in the store, is “in the magic business,” selling bridal gowns among mostly knowing Midwestern families, who line up for the chance to try on lovely specimens and model them in the so-called Magic Room (formerly the bank vault of the building), rimmed by mirrors, and graced by soft lighting and Sinatra tunes. Naturally, the Detroit-based author, now a columnist at the Wall Street Journal, with three daughters of his own, elicits personal stories from worthy brides-to-be captured at the store, such as the Baptist-raised local daughter who along with her three sisters swore “a vow of purity” until marriage; the 40-year-old marrying for the first time; and the young lady maimed in a car crash whose fiancé stood by her. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Zaslow captures the joy, hope, love and magic." (Top Pick) - Bookpage

"A compelling and sincere chronology of the experiences, tragedies, and love that led them to the shop. His narrative is sprinkled with fascinating statistical information … and insights into the lives and relationships of the four generations of Becker women who have worked at the store … A study of individual lives and dreams, this is recommended for casual readers and those with an interest in cultural and social customs concerning marriage, women's roles, and parent-child relationships."

Library Journal

"The Magic Room has all the makings of a cozy, nostalgic wedding read. Tulle, check. Satin and organza, check. Bridezillas, drama and tears? Yes, yes, yes….the highlight of the book is the comings and goings of bride after bride through Becker's, Zaslow also details the excitement and joy of getting married and the commitment and dedication it takes to stay married."

Minneapolis Star Tribune

"Interesting, rewarding and heartbreaking"

The Washington Post

"Shows the poignancy in everyday love stories."

The New York Times

"Forget bridezillas.- A best-selling journalist visits a small-town wedding shop to uncover the poignant dreams of real women on the verge of commitment."

O, the Oprah Magazine

"A tenderhearted portrait of a bridal store in a small Michigan town... In a handful of their stories, Zaslow gently delineates the changing lives of women and finds-in among the mishaps, misunderstandings and tragedies that derail many relationships-ample evidence of the enduring power of marriage."

People Magazine

"The book itself - to use the manliest possible term - is lovely. As lovely as a bride."

Detriot News

"Anyone looking for happily-ever-afters will find plenty of them here."

Columbus Dispatch

"Zaslow's profile of the bridal shop, from the geopolitics of dressmaking to the effects of TV shows like Bridezillas,-is almost as riveting as the bridal tales. The author plucks at the heartstrings as he relates all the yearnings of the brides-to-be and the travails they encounter on the way to the altar."

Kirkus Reviews

"Tender and intimate."

Publishers Weekly

"Zaslow captures the joy, hope, love and magic." (Top Pick)

Bookpage

"A compelling and sincere chronology of the experiences, tragedies, and love that led them to the shop. His narrative is sprinkled with fascinating statistical information … and insights into the lives and relationships of the four generations of Becker women who have worked at the store … A study of individual lives and dreams, this is recommended for casual readers and those with an interest in cultural and social customs concerning marriage, women's roles, and parent-child relationships."

Library Journal

The Minneapolis Star Tribune
The Magic Room has all the makings of a cozy, nostalgic wedding read. Tulle, check. Satin and organza, check. Bridezillas, drama and tears? Yes, yes, yes….the highlight of the book is the comings and goings of bride after bride through Becker's, Zaslow also details the excitement and joy of getting married and the commitment and dedication it takes to stay married.
The Washington Post
Interesting, rewarding and heartbreaking
The New York Times
Shows the poignancy in everyday love stories.
People Magazine
A tenderhearted portrait of a bridal store in a small Michigan town... In a handful of their stories, Zaslow gently delineates the changing lives of women and finds—in among the mishaps, misunderstandings and tragedies that derail many relationships—ample evidence of the enduring power of marriage.
Detriot News
The book itself — to use the manliest possible term — is lovely. As lovely as a bride.
Columbus Dispatch
Anyone looking for happily-ever-afters will find plenty of them here.
Bookpage
“Zaslow captures the joy, hope, love and magic.”
Library Journal
In the small town of Fowler, MI, Becker's Bridal has served over 100,000 brides-to-be since the mid-1930s. Along the way, fashions and customs have changed as brides have visited the store's so-called Magic Room to gaze at endless mirrored images of themselves in their wedding gown, an apt metaphor for Zaslow (columnist, Wall Street Journal; The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship) as they reflect on their lives, relationships, and dreams for the future. Zaslow shadows half a dozen of the women who go to Becker's Bridal, listening to their stories and writing a compelling and sincere chronology of the experiences, tragedies, and love that led them to the shop. His narrative is sprinkled with fascinating statistical information concerning marriage and divorce, as well as his cultural analysis and observations concerning family and spousal relationships and insights into the lives and relationships of the four generations of Becker women who have worked at the store. VERDICT Not an examination of today's marriage industry but a study of individual lives and dreams, this is recommended for casual readers and those with an interest in cultural and social customs concerning marriage, women's roles, and parent-child relationships.—Jennifer Harris, Mercyhurst Coll. North East Lib., Erie, PA

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781455829064
Publisher:
Brilliance Audio
Publication date:
12/27/2011
Edition description:
Unabridged
Product dimensions:
5.00(w) x 5.60(h) x 0.80(d)

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"The Magic Room has all the makings of a cozy, nostalgic wedding read. Tulle, check. Satin and organza, check. Bridezillas, drama and tears? Yes, yes, yes….the highlight of the book is the comings and goings of bride after bride through Becker's, Zaslow also details the excitement and joy of getting married and the commitment and dedication it takes to stay married."—Minneapolis Star Tribune “Interesting, rewarding and heartbreaking”—The Washington Post “Shows the poignancy in everyday love stories.”—The New York Times “Forget bridezillas. A best-selling journalist visits a small-town wedding shop to uncover the poignant dreams of real women on the verge of commitment.”—O, the Oprah Magazine “A tenderhearted portrait of a bridal store in a small Michigan town... In a handful of their stories, Zaslow gently delineates the changing lives of women and finds—in among the mishaps, misunderstandings and tragedies that derail many relationships—ample evidence of the enduring power of marriage.”—People Magazine “The book itself — to use the manliest possible term — is lovely. As lovely as a bride.”—Detriot News Anyone looking for happily-ever-afters will find plenty of them here.”—Columbus Dispatch “Zaslow’s profile of the bridal shop, from the geopolitics of dressmaking to the effects of TV shows like Bridezillas, is almost as riveting as the bridal tales. The author plucks at the heartstrings as he relates all the yearnings of the brides-to-be and the travails they encounter on the way to the altar.”—Kirkus Reviews “Tender and intimate.”—Publishers Weekly “Zaslow captures the joy, hope, love and magic.”—Bookpage “A compelling and sincere chronology of the experiences, tragedies, and love that led them to the shop. His narrative is sprinkled with fascinating statistical information … and insights into the lives and relationships of the four generations of Becker women who have worked at the store … A study of individual lives and dreams, this is recommended for casual readers and those with an interest in cultural and social customs concerning marriage, women’s roles, and parent-child relationships.”—Library Journal

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Meet the Author

Jeffrey Zaslow is a Wall Street Journal columnist and the New York Times bestselling author of The Girls from Ames. He co-authored Highest Duty by Chesley Sullenberger and The Last Lecture with Randy Pausch.

Brief Biography

Hometown:
West Bloomfield, MI
Date of Birth:
October 6, 1958
Date of Death:
February 10, 2012
Place of Birth:
Philadelphia, PA
Education:
B.A., Creative Writing, Carnegie Mellon University, 1980

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

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Magic Room 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Melanie96 More than 1 year ago
Loved this book. A good read for men too with daughters. While reading this book I was saddened to hear that Mr.Zaslow passed away in an accident..and would never see his daughters get married.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
A book full of stories that made me laugh, cry and hope for the future. Taking place in a coveted room inside a family owned bridal boutique that has been open for many decades and many generations have found their all important wedding dress. Grandmothers are now accompanying their grand daughters on this special shopping trip. Author of The Girls From Ames, Jeffrey Zaslow gets to the heart of how the relationships between women, whether it be mother/daughter, grandmother/granddaughter, or bride/friend; the art of shopping for the wedding dress has changed over the year and the quest for the dress is as important as many of the other wedding decisions that are made. This act is something that I have dreamed about for years with my mom, sister and those I hold close to me. I can't wait to try on a few dresses and get some honest opinions from, the big butt to utter perfection - these are what dreams are made of! Zaslow highlights different brides that have entered through their doors and what brought them to this special decision. Not only does he chronicle the history of the store, but the family behind this landmark in Fowler, Michigan. Such a great book for women of all ages - young and old and in between will enjoy this book as they remember their own shopping adventures or have had a few dreams about their upcoming shopping adventures.
Donna_M_Brown More than 1 year ago
I often read non-fiction but mostly current affairs or history, so I’m not sure what possessed me to request to take part in Crazy Book Tour’s virtual book tour for The Magic Room. I suppose all I can say is that every now and again a book ‘speaks’ to you and cries out to be read (much like the cookies that – ahem – cry out to be eaten). The Magic Room was one such book. I was intrigued by the description and the idea of a book that examined such a wide range of relationships: the relationship between marriage and the modern world. The relationship between mothers or fathers and daughters. The relationship between the bridal dream and the fiscal reality. Jeffrey Zaslow chose to set his book about “the Love We Wish for Our Daughters” in a bridal shop and I think doing so was a masterstroke. In that one decision he opened up boundless possibilities and the book embraces many of them fully. The Magic Room is a wonderful mix of anecdotes, family history, economic history and statistics. The book is related with warmth and humour, with touching stories interspersed with tongue-in-cheek media story mentions or interesting cultural references. It is neither preachy nor too touchy-feely but instead is a wonderful balance of all the things a marriage is: some ups, downs, worries, good times, cross words, touching speeches, advice, memories and, perhaps most importantly, hope. It’s now coming up to two years since I got married. I ordered my gown via the internet and decided to forego the full bridal experience of bridal shop, dress fittings etc. Despite not having had the experience, I can see the magic behind The Magic Room (in terms of both the book itself and the ‘magic’ room within the bridal store Beckers) and understand why it is so important to the people that frequent the store, the owners, the community. Don’t be lured into thinking this is ‘just’ a tale of a bridal store, though. The history of Beckers is, indeed, fascinating but even beyond that, this is a work that offers so very much more. **I received a copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review. I did not receive any additional compensation. All views are my own.**
SincerelyStacie More than 1 year ago
I was extremely excited when I found out I had the opportunity to review this book. I loved both of Zaslow's previous books THE LAST LECTURE and THE GIRLS FROM AMES. I had a feeling I would love this one too, and I did. Zaslow wrote this in much the same style as THE GIRLS FROM AMES, giving each bride their own chapter and then coming back to them at the end with their follow-up story. Even though this is non-fiction, it reads smoothly and the emotion of each woman's story is the focus over the research studies that filter thoughout. I found all the history of brides, bridal dress shopping and familial relationships extremely interesting and made me think of my own dress shopping days. I myself had two bridal dress shopping days, one when I was 20 and one when I was 25. I never got to wear the first dress as I ended up breaking off the engagement, but the two shopping experiences were vastly different and reflected much of the research and experiences in the book. I am sure you will also reflect on both your dress shopping day and your wedding day as you read the stories in this book. I remember the dress I ended up with was one I never would have picked out, but once I put it on, the tears and the emotions were immediately there. It was THE ONE. What I also appreciated about this book was that even though it focuses on the bride, the dress and the big day, through the stories, it reminds you “It’s not just about the dress, the flowers, the reception. It’s about the man and the marriage and the life that will follow” (p. 256). Keep the tissue box close by as you travel through the stories in this book. Zaslow knew just whose stories to tell and you will want to know how each bride is doing after finishing the book. By going to the book website, you may be able to see updates and find other information about the book and the author. Even though I have finished the book, I know the marriages and lives featured in this story go on. I am praying all of them are blessed by the telling of their stories and their marriages are long, loving and strong.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book written for all those brides who will be brides or have been brides in the past.
BC13 More than 1 year ago
Story telling as only Jeffery Zaslow can deliver. The book contains a historical account of the bridal shop, Becker’s; legacy of how this shop started, and keeps going and will be remembered in the future. Tucked between the pages are the lives of brides who come to Becker’s Bridal Shop to purchase their gowns; it is so much more than just the dress. The brides life, their story is told ~ it brings you to that moment when “The” dress is tried-on in the magical room of mirrors and lights to “just knowing” not only that this is the gown, but that life has woven together up-to this moment. Be part of the treasure that this story contains; read it with a box of tissues close by and know at the end of the book, you will want to know what happens next to the brides, who stories have been tenderly revealed in ‘The Magic Room’.