Wednesday Sisters

Wednesday Sisters

by Meg Waite Clayton

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780345507846
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/17/2008
Series: Wednesday Series , #1
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 8,867
File size: 2 MB

About the Author

Meg Waite Clayton is the author of The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize. Her stories and essays have appeared in Runner’s World, Writer’s Digest, and literary magazines. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School and was a Tennessee Williams Scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. She lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband and their two sons.


From the Hardcover edition.

Read an Excerpt

The Wednesday Sisters look like the kind of women who might meet at those fancy coffee shops on University—we do look that way—but we’re not one bit fancy, and we’re not sisters, either. We don’t even meet on Wednesdays, although we did at the beginning. We met at the swings at Pardee Park on Wednesday mornings when our children were young. It’s been thirty-five years, though—more than thirty-five!—since we switched from Wednesdays at ten to Sundays at dawn. Sunrise, whatever time the light first crests the horizon that time of year. It suits us, to leave our meeting time up to the tilt of the earth, the track of the world around the sun.

That’s us, there in the photograph. Yes, that’s me—in one of my chubbier phases, though I suppose one of these days I’ll have to face up to the fact that it’s the thinner me that’s the “phase,” not the chubbier one. And going left to right, that’s Linda (her hair loose and combed, but then she brought the camera, she was the only one who knew we’d be taking a photograph). Next to her is Ally, pale as ever, and then Kath. And the one in the white gloves in front—the one in the coffin—that’s Brett.

•••

Brett’s gloves—that’ s what brought us together all those years ago. I had Maggie and Davy with me in the park that first morning, a park full to bursting with children running around together as if any new kid could join them just by saying hello, with clusters of mothers who might—just might—be joined with a simple hello as well. It wasn’t my park yet, just a park in a neighborhood where Danny and I might live if we moved to the Bay Area, a neighborhood with tree-lined streets and neat little yards and sidewalks and leaves turning colors just like at home in Chicago, crumples of red and gold and pale brown skittering around at the curbs. I was sitting on a bench, Davy in my lap and a book in my hand, keeping one eye on Maggie on the slide while surreptitiously watching the other mothers when this woman—Brett, though I didn’t know that then—sat down on a bench across the playground from me, wearing white gloves. No, we are not of the white-glove generation, not really. Yes, I did wear them to Mass when I was a girl, along with a silly doily on my head, but this was 1967—we’ re talking miniskirts and tie-dyed shirts and platform shoes. Or maybe not tie-dye and platforms yet—maybe those came later, just before Izod shirts with the collars up—but miniskirts. At any rate, it was definitely not a white-glove time, much less in the park on a Wednesday morning.

What in the world? I thought. Does this girl think she’s Jackie Kennedy? (Thinking “girl,” yes, but back then it had no attitude in it, no “gi-rl.”) And I was wondering if she might go with the ramshackle house beyond the playground—a sagging white clapboard mansion that had been something in its day, you could see that, with its grandly columned entrance, its still magnificent palm tree, its long, flat spread of lawn—when a mother just settling at the far end of my bench said, “She wears them all the time.”

Those were Linda’s very first words to me: “She wears them all the time.”

I don’t as a rule gossip about people I’ve never met with other people I’ve never met, even women like Linda, who, just from the look of her, seemed she’d be nice to know. She was blond and fit and . . . well, just Linda, even then wearing a red Stanford baseball cap, big white letters across the front and the longest, thickest blond braid sticking out the back—when girls didn’t wear baseball caps either, or concern themselves with being fit rather than just plain thin.

“You were staring,” Linda said. That’s Linda for you. She’s nothing if not frank.

“Oh,” I said, still stuck on that baseball cap of hers, thinking even Gidget never wore a baseball cap, not the Sandra Dee movie version or the Sally Field TV one.

“I don’t mean to criticize,” she said. “Everyone does.”

“Criticize?”

“Stare at her.” Linda shifted slightly, and I saw then that she was pregnant, though just barely. “You’re new to the neighborhood?” she asked.

“No, we . . .” I adjusted my cat’s-eye glasses, a nervous habit my mom had forever tried to break me of. “My husband and I might be moving here after he finishes school. He has a job offer, and we . . . They showed us that little house there.” I indicated the house just across Center Drive from the old mansion. “The split-level with the pink shutters?”

“Oh!” Linda said. “I thought it just sold, like, yesterday. I didn’t know you’d moved in!”

“It’ s not sold yet. And we haven’t. We won’t move here until the spring.”

“Oh.” She looked a bit confused. “Well, you are going to paint the shutters, aren’t you?”

As I said, Linda is nothing if not frank.

That was the first Wednesday. September 6, 1967.

When I tell people that—that I first came to the Bay Area at the end of that summer, that that’s when the Wednesday Sisters first met—they inevitably get this look in their eyes that says bell-bottoms and flower power, war protests and race riots, LSD. Even to me, it seems a little improbable in retrospect that I never saw a joint back then, never flashed anyone a peace sign. But I had a three-year-old daughter and a baby son already. I had a husband who’d passed the draft age, who would have a Ph.D. and a full-time job within months. I’d already settled into the life I’d been raised to settle into: dependable daughter, good wife, attentive mother. All the Wednesday Sisters had. We spent the Summer of Love changing diapers, going to the grocery store, baking tuna casseroles and knitting sweater vests (yes, sweater vests), and watching Walter Cronkite from the safety of our family rooms. I watched the local news, too, though that was more about following the Cubs; they’d just lost to the Dodgers, ending a three-game winning streak—not much, three games, but then they are the Cubs and were even that year, despite Fergie Jenkins throwing 236 strikeouts and Ron Santo hitting 31 out of the park.

Anyway, I was sitting there watching Maggie on the slide, about to call to her to clear away from the bottom when she did it on her own, and I was just a bit intimidated by this blonde I didn’t know yet was Linda, and that occurred to me, that I didn’t know her name. “I’m Frankie O’Mara,” I said, forgetting that I’d decided to be Mary, or at least Mary Frances or Frances or Fran, in this new life. I tried to back up and say “Mary Frances O’Mara”—it was the way I liked to imagine my name on the cover of a novel someday, not that I would have admitted to dreams beyond marriage and motherhood back then. But Linda was already all over Frankie.

“Frankie? A man’s name—and you all curvy and feminine. I wish I had curves like you do. I’m pretty much just straight up and down.”

I’d have traded my “curves” of unlost baby gain for what was under her double-knit slacks and striped turtleneck in a second, or I thought I would then. She looked like that girl in the Clairol ads—“If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”—except she was more “If you can’t join ’em, beat ’em” somehow. She didn’t wear a speck of makeup, either, not even lipstick.

“What are you reading, Frankie?” she asked.

(In fairness, I should explain here that Linda remembers that first morning differently. She swears her first words were “What’s that you’re reading?” and it was only when I didn’t answer—too busy staring at Brett to hear her, she says—that she said, “She wears them all the time.” She swears what brought us together was the book in my hand. That’s how she and Kath met, too; they got to talking about In Cold Blood at a party while everyone was still slogging through the usual blather about the lovely Palo Alto weather and how lucky they were that their husbands were doing their residencies here.)

I held up the cover of my book—Agatha Christie’s latest Poirot novel, The Third Girl—for Linda to see. She blinked blond lashes over eyes that had a little of every color in them, like the blue and green and yellow of broken glass all mixed together in the recycling bin.

Reading Group Guide

1. What do you think draws the women together in the opening scenes of The Wednesday Sisters? Is it, as Linda suggests, a shared love of books, or is it a shared fascination with Brett’s white gloves, or is it both or something else?

2. Twice in the novel, Linda attempts to ask about Brett’s gloves, but she is cut off by one of the other Sisters. Why are they reluctant to cross that line? What do you think the gloves symbolize? Do you think young women meeting Brett today would be as gentle about her gloves? Are there generational differences in the ways women relate? 

3. Ally enters the group in part based on an unspoken assumption that Carrie is her daughter, when the child is in fact her niece. Why do you think Frankie keeps this secret rather than sharing it with the others? Do you think Ally’s life would be different today, given the existence of fertility treatments and support groups? 

4. Why does Kath go so far in trying to win Lee back? Did this surprise you? Do you think she would have acted differently if the success of her marriage weren’t so important to her parents? If divorce had been as prevalent then as it is now? If she had been able to provide for herself financially? Would you, like Kath’s friends, be reluctant to counsel her to leave her husband? Or can you imagine giving her different advice? 

5. Linda’s breast cancer and Ally’s fertility issues cause each to doubt her own femininity, and leave their friends at a loss as to how to help them. Have you or a friend ever been through a similar crisis? What has helped you hold on to your sense of self through tough times? How have your friendships affected this experience? 

6. Why do you think Frankie finds it so difficult to tell Danny she’s writing a book, when she has no trouble at all confiding this fact to her husband’s boss? Why are we sometimes reluctant to admit we have dreams? 

7. The old abandoned mansion–“a Miss Havisham house,” as Frankie’s husband, Danny, calls it, after the moldering mansion in Dickens’s Great Expectations–is a haunting presence through most of the novel. What does this house seem to symbolize? Does it mean something different to each of the Sisters? What does its destruction mean? 

8. Published books are mentioned throughout the novel–from The Great Gatsby to The Bell Jar to To Kill a Mockingbird. What role do these titles play in The Wednesday Sisters? Why do you think each of the Sisters chooses the “model book” she does? What model book might you choose yourself? 

9. The writing group the Sisters form in The Wednesday Sisters helps its members grow in self-awareness and self-confidence. Have you been a part of a group–perhaps even a reading or writing group–that has had a similar effect on you? What do you think of the author’s message that writing doesn’t have to culminate in a book deal; that it can feed the soul of anyone who works hard at it; that with hard work, it is possible to get better; and that writing can help one make sense of one’s life? 

10. In one memorable scene, the Wednesday Sisters gather in a funeral parlor and imagine what they can accomplish in their lives that will not perish with their deaths. Did this make you think about writing in a new light? What about motherhood? 

11. The women’s movement provides an evolving backdrop to the lives of the women in The Wednesday Sisters. How did you relate the experiences of the Wednesday Sisters to events in your own life or in the lives of women you know who lived at that time?

12. The Wednesday Sisters make a tradition of watching the Miss America Pageant every year. How do their reactions to the pageant change over time, and why? How does the pageant itself change? 

13. If the Miss America Pageant is one recurring motif in the novel, the space program is another. What similarities and differences do you see in the way the author uses these two iconic slices of Americana? 

14. Brett’s novel, The Mrs. Americas, posits a future in which a spaceship crewed by women and carrying a cargo of frozen sperm takes off on a mission to propagate the human race beyond the confines of our solar system. Why do you think Clayton chose to have Brett write this particular novel? 

15. In addition to exploring the empowerment of women and the prevalence of sexism, The Wednesday Sisters addresses other social issues. In what ways are race and class raised in the novel? What did you think of the Sisters’ reactions to the fact that Ally’s husband, Jim, was from India? 

16. Why do you think the author chose to set the climax of her novel on the set of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson? How does this scene compare to the Miss America Pageants described in the novel? 

17. Throughout the novel, the Wednesday Sisters’ friendships are complex, constantly evolving, and occasionally downright messy. Yet even as their bonds are tested, the group endures and grows stronger. What do you think keeps their friendships growing stronger rather than breaking apart? 

18. In an interview, author Meg Waite Clayton once said, “If an author makes me weep, I am theirs–though why so many of us like books that make us cry puzzles me to no end.” Do you share this sentiment? Why do you think readers respond to novels that make them cry? 

Foreword

1. What do you think draws the women together in the opening scenes of The Wednesday Sisters? Is it, as Linda suggests, a shared love of books, or is it a shared fascination with Brett’s white gloves, or is it both or something else?

2. Twice in the novel, Linda attempts to ask about Brett’s gloves, but she is cut off by one of the other Sisters. Why are they reluctant to cross that line? What do you think the gloves symbolize? Do you think young women meeting Brett today would be as gentle about her gloves? Are there generational differences in the ways women relate? 

3. Ally enters the group in part based on an unspoken assumption that Carrie is her daughter, when the child is in fact her niece. Why do you think Frankie keeps this secret rather than sharing it with the others? Do you think Ally’s life would be different today, given the existence of fertility treatments and support groups? 

4. Why does Kath go so far in trying to win Lee back? Did this surprise you? Do you think she would have acted differently if the success of her marriage weren’t so important to her parents? If divorce had been as prevalent then as it is now? If she had been able to provide for herself financially? Would you, like Kath’s friends, be reluctant to counsel her to leave her husband? Or can you imagine giving her different advice? 

5. Linda’s breast cancer and Ally’s fertility issues cause each to doubt her own femininity, and leave their friends at a loss as to how to help them. Have you or a friend ever beenthrough a similar crisis? What has helped you hold on to your sense of self through tough times? How have your friendships affected this experience? 

6. Why do you think Frankie finds it so difficult to tell Danny she’s writing a book, when she has no trouble at all confiding this fact to her husband’s boss? Why are we sometimes reluctant to admit we have dreams? 

7. The old abandoned mansion–“a Miss Havisham house,” as Frankie’s husband, Danny, calls it, after the moldering mansion in Dickens’s Great Expectations–is a haunting presence through most of the novel. What does this house seem to symbolize? Does it mean something different to each of the Sisters? What does its destruction mean? 

8. Published books are mentioned throughout the novel–from The Great Gatsby to The Bell Jar to To Kill a Mockingbird. What role do these titles play in The Wednesday Sisters? Why do you think each of the Sisters chooses the “model book” she does? What model book might you choose yourself? 

9. The writing group the Sisters form in The Wednesday Sisters helps its members grow in self-awareness and self-confidence. Have you been a part of a group–perhaps even a reading or writing group–that has had a similar effect on you? What do you think of the author’s message that writing doesn’t have to culminate in a book deal; that it can feed the soul of anyone who works hard at it; that with hard work, it is possible to get better; and that writing can help one make sense of one’s life? 

10. In one memorable scene, the Wednesday Sisters gather in a funeral parlor and imagine what they can accomplish in their lives that will not perish with their deaths. Did this make you think about writing in a new light? What about motherhood? 

11. The women’s movement provides an evolving backdrop to the lives of the women in The Wednesday Sisters. How did you relate the experiences of the Wednesday Sisters to events in your own life or in the lives of women you know who lived at that time?

12. The Wednesday Sisters make a tradition of watching the Miss America Pageant every year. How do their reactions to the pageant change over time, and why? How does the pageant itself change? 

13. If the Miss America Pageant is one recurring motif in the novel, the space program is another. What similarities and differences do you see in the way the author uses these two iconic slices of Americana? 

14. Brett’s novel, The Mrs. Americas, posits a future in which a spaceship crewed by women and carrying a cargo of frozen sperm takes off on a mission to propagate the human race beyond the confines of our solar system. Why do you think Clayton chose to have Brett write this particular novel? 

15. In addition to exploring the empowerment of women and the prevalence of sexism, The Wednesday Sisters addresses other social issues. In what ways are race and class raised in the novel? What did you think of the Sisters’ reactions to the fact that Ally’s husband, Jim, was from India? 

16. Why do you think the author chose to set the climax of her novel on the set of The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson? How does this scene compare to the Miss America Pageants described in the novel? 

17. Throughout the novel, the Wednesday Sisters’ friendships are complex, constantly evolving, and occasionally downright messy. Yet even as their bonds are tested, the group endures and grows stronger. What do you think keeps their friendships growing stronger rather than breaking apart? 

18. In an interview, author Meg Waite Clayton once said, “If an author makes me weep, I am theirs–though why so many of us like books that make us cry puzzles me to no end.” Do you share this sentiment? Why do you think readers respond to novels that make them cry? 

Customer Reviews

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Wednesday Sisters 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 183 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Kath, Frankie, Ally, Brett and Linda are The Wednesday Sisters. They met in a park in CA in the late 1960s and developed a close friendship which spans over 30 years. These 5 women couldn't be more different but soon realize that they share an affinity for literature and share a secret desire to write. I really identified with Frankie. I am from Chicago and grew up in the 70s so I really appreciated all of the references to the Cubs and Northwestern University but more importantly I felt that the author really captured the Midwestern 'mentality' of the era. While reading I couldn't help but be reminded of all of the hardships my mom went through as a young woman in the 60s and 70s. She divorced when I was young and was an outcast at my Catholic Elementary School. I can see why Kath stuck it out! She was not able to go to college for the same reasons as Frankie. There were times when I laughed out loud and had to hold back the tears while reading. Meg Waite Clayton really captured the bond that women have when they develop meaningful relationships and friendships. I can't wait to pass this book on to one of my Wednesday Sisters!
rizzomom More than 1 year ago
This book is the best I've read since Blue July Sky. I'm so into the characters. All five are great in their own way. I think every woman can find a part of herself in each one of the Wednesday Sisters. This is a great book. Every one should read this.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you are over 60, graduated high school in 50's, graduated college in the 60's-the story of these friends is the story of your past. From picket fences, broken marriages, miscarriages, the horrors of early treatment of breast cancer, the rallies against Vietnam, the Miss American contest--it is all in this delighful read. I saw myself and friends in this. Just buy it and pass it on to your friends as I will do.
Wacky_J More than 1 year ago
The novel The Wednesday Sisters, while falling quite short of being original, does have its redeeming qualities. I'm sorry, but I'm tired of reading material from writers who only seem to be able to write about becoming writers. Am I alone in this? I know we're all told to "write what we know" but this is getting ridiculous. The characters in this character-driven novel fall flat at times. The stereotypes overwhelm. With the exception of one heart-wrenching scene, they fail to elicit much empathy. Even the ending was telegraphed. The writing style was sometimes simplistic but not without merit. The chronological cultural references were too numerous and too contritely stuffed into the novel to feel at all "real". The upside? The many truly great novels to which the the characters refer inspired me to go back and re-read several of them myself. I only wish the author had been able to capture more than a touch of their greatness.
sjh801 More than 1 year ago
I had happened upon The Wednesday Sisters quite by accident, through a quick mention from an Internet site. I am I glad that I did. The characters and story were well written with a backdrop of the America of the 60s, 70s and beyond. The development of the characters, their relationship with each other and the times, was written with an eye to the many and varied changes America has experienced. Each character was clearly defined both as an individual and as to her place in the "group". Someone once said "Who you are is where you were when". That is true with this novel. Thanks to Meg Waite Clayton for a book that lends itself to book clubs, too. I can't wait to discuss it next year in our Third Thursday Book Club. The two books which I also recommend explore individual women and their unique place in their "group" and times. Enjoy!
suzanne-hall More than 1 year ago
What happens when mothers go to a park with their children? They find other women like themselves who enjoy discussing books that they've read. These 5 women also discovered that they would all like to write and be published. So, that's what they did. They set up a time on Wednesdays when they would meet at the park and critique each other's work. Some did get published & others went to work at a publishing company. It is also historical fiction in the fact that the story started in the 1960's and a time span of 30 afterwards. These women did not work outside the home but felt the need to write, to do something with their lives other than being a mother. The 'sisters' also became best friends supporting each through pregnancy issues, becoming single mothers, cancer,and husband & wives going their seperate ways yet coming back together again. Very much like reality at its best. I read an advanced copy of the books so it had some typos and it missed some words in it, but it was a very good plotline. A very interesting discussion read for book clubs.
Rachel_Villavicencio More than 1 year ago
I really liked this book because the characters really spoke to me. They were strong individuals but also flawed. They were supportive but not pushy. They would be the kind of women that I would like to be friends with.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
WHY do authors feel it is necessary to insert breast cancer themes into almost every fricking book?? Enough!! I read to esvape, not suffer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful novel for book groups. The well-written story is about true friendship. I loved how the events of the times are interwoven with the growth of the characters. I fell in love with the characters and the story really made me reflect on how much I am giving to my own friendships. Highly Recommended.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book reminds me of the Billy Joel song 'We Didn't Start the Fire' as it progresses through the lives of these wonderful women from Bobby Kennedy being shot until now. I haven't been so engrossed in a book, as I was with this one, in a long time. This book is a clear example of the power of friendship and how it can endure over the years. I laughed with them and I cried with them and I didn't want the book to end. And when I finished, I emailed all of my best girlfriends just to tell them I love them. This book is a must read for any woman with girlfriends!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure how I feel about this book. It was kind of boring and dragged on. I couldn't get close to the people in this book which may have to do with my age being that this was all before my time. However at times I did enjoy it and it made me laugh or cry a little. I think this book would be good for an older crowd of people in their 50's or 60's because it was more their time frame.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
A wonderful book filled completely of the relationships between women - the ups and downs. I absolutely fell in love with the group of women and was sort of jealous of their relationships. The men in their lives made an appearance, but the women held the centerpiece Most of the time these books are told from each of their perspectives, but I was absolutely thrilled that it stayed from the perspective of the one character. I think that a sequel could be made and Clayton could take the group through their next phase from another person's voice. Although, I don't tend to enjoy some of the more historical parts of books, I loved how it worked into their lives. They attended rallies and were affected by the history of the times. I really enjoyed this book, it was so easy to get into and I was sad to say goodbye to these women. The women folk would definitely enjoy this book for the relationships and the events that affect their lives.
BooksRFun More than 1 year ago
The reviews on the back of the book sounded so wonderful and the idea of the story sounded good but I was soooooo bored! I gave the book about 100 pages and just couldn't bear to read anymore when I have other books sitting on my shelf! Oh, well!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
By the reviews I thought this would be a great book. It was very boring to me and couldnt even get through it. It was a book club book and everyone else got through it but painfully. They said it didnt pick up until around page 150 but at that point it was good. So I would not recommend it.
noveladdict More than 1 year ago
Great book about female friendships. I loved it. If you have ever wanted to write your own novel, then read this one. Great story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After finishing this book I got on Facebook to track down members of my writing group. Really enjoyed pieces of women's history in this book. A great one for younger women to read.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I came late to sisterhood. A half-generation younger than the women in The Wednesday Sisters, many in my generation scoffed at unliberated women like them. Many in my generation sought to make their way in a man¿s world, using men¿s strategies¿strategies that felt uncomfortable and often did not serve us well. Yet, at the same time, many of us also became wives and mothers, where we were born again into the realization that the women¿s way¿generosity of spirit and the compassionate, nurturing sisterhood role model¿was the right way all along, the right way for us and for our ailing world. The Wednesday Sisters is the book I wish I had written about sisterhood. It transported me back in time to an earlier world that, at once and the same time, felt like home. I long for Meg Wait Clayton¿s next novel, for the next journey of the soul.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In the late 1960s the five young mothers meet in Palo Alto at a park. They have plenty in common as they dream of being much more than just a wife and mother while hearing tales of the counter culture and the Summer of Love. The quintet love books especially those they can escape into so they can forget their somewhat tedious lives especially the household chores, but each sees a different role for the lead female characters based on what they dream they wanted. --- Linda loves to run with the Olympics her fantasy goal. Brett literally wants to walk on the moon. Kath insists marriage is all she ever desired, but her four new pals with their aspirations make her wonder if there might be something in addition to being wife and mother. Ally, the only one without a child, wants a kid or three. The leader Midwesterner Frankie, who came to California as her husband came here to work at the fledgling computer business, hopes to be come a writer. THE WEDNESDAY SISTERS inspire each other to go after their aspirations and much more even when they seem impossible in a man¿s only world by writing and sharing their tales. --- This historical sisterhood tale is an engaging look at the beginning of the ¿You¿ve come a long way baby¿ feminist movement that brought women into many fields previously taboo epitomized by Hilary¿s run (the next one will go all the way). Each of the five women seems real due to their dreams to be more than identified through their husband and kids. Although their individual writings are too sweet even if they read valid for their place in late 1960s society, fans will enjoy this fine tale as before Sally Ride there was a real Brett out there trying to break out of the box. --- Harriet Klausner
writestuff on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett and Ally meet each Wednesday in a park near Ally and Frankie¿s home. It is there they talk about raising children and being married, until one day, Linda - honest and direct - pushes them to write, and thus begins the Wednesday Sister¿s writing group¿a place where each woman will discover exactly who she is and what she wants.The Wednesday Sisters is set in the late 60¿s - on the cusp of the woman¿s movement, in the middle of the civil rights movement, and during a time when traditional values began to be challenged. Meg Waite Clayton has given us five women, all different and yet similar¿women with their own dreams, aspirations, doubts, and fears. Together they demonstrate what is best about women¿s friendships - gentle support, cutting honesty, and fierce loyalty. It is a time of growth, not only for the country, but for these women who have set aside their own dreams to support the dreams of their husbands, but who now want something for themselves. Along their journey the reader witnesses their struggles and sadnesses, along with their joy.I found myself unable to stop reading this engaging novel. So much about The Wednesday Sisters rang true to me. I loved how Clayton captured the frustration and exhilaration of writing, the fear and desire to share what one has written, and the joy of being part of a writer¿s group. I could relate to Ally¿s fears of never having a child, Linda¿s drive to change the world, Frankie¿s fear of rejection, Kath¿s pain of a failed relationship, and Brett¿s secrets which she covers with her white gloves. Clayton has done something amazing with her cast of characters - she has encapsulated women at their best and worst, with all their shortcomings and strengths¿and has given us a novel with which women will identify. At the end of this novel, I did something I rarely do - I sobbed. Not because of sadness, but because I felt touched by the lives of these women.The Wednesday Sisters is a must read for women. Highly recommended.
michrichmond on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is a heartwarming and intelligent novel about friendship set against the backdrop of the sixties in Palo Alto, California. The story of several young women yearning for something greater than their narrowly prescribed lives as wives and mothers is woven together beautifully with the story of the nation at a pivotal point in its history. Highly recommended for book groups.
clik4 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
Friendship, loyalty, love, changing times and personal growth, Meg Waite Clayton throws five young women together in a Palo Alto park while watching their children play. These five form a friendship among the turbulent sixties; a time of launching spaceships, the Women¿s Movement and Vietnam. Finding acceptance and strength from each other, the five form a writer¿s group and begin to express themselves through their friendship and their writing. Criticizing each other¿s writing, development of character and dialogue, the five women echo the changes they see around them. Ally has a secret that may be a factor in her successive miscarriages. Intellectual Brett has scars from her past and never is without her white gloves. Frankie is a timid newcomer from Chicago and Kath a Kentucky debutante. Linda is a remarkable athlete. All encounter life¿s heartbreak and joys; infidelity, illness, frustration, failure and success. Each woman confronts life singly, but ultimately with the support of a redefined and flawed family that offers support and celebration during the loneliest of times.
mlschmidt on LibraryThing 3 months ago
This is a story of five women who meet in a park and form a life long bond forged from thier love of writing. Thier friendship spans throughout the upheaval of the 60's and 70's, Frankie, one of the five, tell us how the friends form their bond and how they manage the changes in their lives. This is an enjoyable book, you'll be drawn in to find out more about the group, pay attention to the subtle references and little clues that you will have to link together. I found myself skimming over some of the history pieces, a little too much detail for me. Overall a good read.
whoot on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I really enjoyed this book!! I was looking for a light, enjoyable read - chicklit perhaps - and got so much more!!! I didn't want to put it down and was sorry when it ended (though I felt it was a complete book).The five Wednesday sisters are very compelling characters - Meg Waite Clayton really knows how to develop full, realistic, interesting and engaging characters. Early on you get hints of the complexity of each of the women and look forward to finding out the true story of each one of them.I think what makes this such a compelling read is that the women have elements that I can relate to - they are either just like me or someone I know! I know plenty of moms, writers, want-to-be writers, return to college students, runners, women married to men of a different race, southern belles (with an attitude?), people with disfiguring scars, women in adulterous marriages...you name it, we've all experienced a part of what Ms. Clayton so adeptly brings to life. Interspersing the common stabs at writing with the individual interests and trials and overlaying it with the burgeoning women's movement makes for a very rich novel -- nice job!! Given the depth of the characters I was surprised not to have a more robust understanding of the women's relationships with their husbands, and disappointed that the only one we do know a lot about is not a positive relationship. But, that is also one of the points of this book -- it is not the core of these women and there is so much more to them than their marriage!I just ran my first half marathon this year -- Linda would have LOVED the BREAST CANCER MARATHON in Jacksonville, FL - THOUSANDS of women, and more women than men.My only true disappointment is that we never find out for sure who was playing the piano in the haunted mansion....Meg Waite Clayton, kudos on a great read and your fascinating insight into the world of writers. THANK YOU!
tapestry100 on LibraryThing 3 months ago
I received The Wednesday Sisters through the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing. It's an excellently written story about friendship and family (and especially how friends can grow into being more than just friends, they can become family too). From the moment I started reading, I knew that this was going to be a great book.The story revolves around no-nonsense, athletic Linda, super smart Brett, quiet Frankie, Southern Belle Kath & shy Ally, friends who first meet every Wednesday in the park for play time with their kids, but where they eventually start to discuss what books they've been reading and the general small talk of forming friendships. Later, they discover that each has had a small desire in one way or another to become writers, so the Wednesday meetings change to writing critiques, as they each try to help the other into becoming better writers. The book is so much more than just about their writing, though. It's also about the hopes, dreams and challenges of young families and budding friendships. We get a glimpse into 5 years of their friendship and watch through their eyes as the world is changing around them (the story starts in the summer of 1967) and how they themselves grow as individuals with the rest of the world.This was a delight to read; smartly written and nicely paced, with believable characters living real lives. I think Meg Waite Clayton describes her own book best, when the Wednesday Sisters are critiquing Brett's book and Frankie asks, "How did you make it so funny and so touching at the same time(?)... It's a little bit of magic, that." When I read that line, I thought the exact same thing about The Wednesday Sisters.
virginiahomeschooler on LibraryThing 3 months ago
The Wednesday Sisters explores the ties of friendship that bind five women together. Set against a backdrop of the turbulent 1960's and 70's, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally come together each week as they form a sort of writer's group. It soon evolves into much more than that as they share in each others' successes, failures, heartbreaks, and joys.I really enjoyed this book. The story was compelling, and the setting was perfect. Having not experienced the time period first hand, I gained a lot of insight into the roles of women before the liberties I take for granted were ever realized. It actually helped me to understand and appreciate my mother a little more. The Wednesday Sisters is a beautifully written and touching novel that speaks to every woman's desire to find her place in the world. The characters are vivid and real, and the first-person narrative left me feeling as much a part of the group as any of the 'sisters.' I cried, laughed, and cheered right along with them. We should all be so lucky as to find our own 'Wednesday Sisters.'