It is a rare book that has one smart, engaging and has a well rounded and believable woman character. Never mind five of them! This is the story of five women living conventional lives in unconventional times.
From a purely technical point of view, Clayton has pulled off an impressive feat. She manages to make each one of these five women real and full character who all get equal time and equal voice.
The story starts with the assassination of Bobby Kennedy and traces these women's lives through roughly 10 years. Those ten years include the Apollo space flights and burning bras; peace marches and Miss America contests, the birth of modern Silicon Valley and the first New York Marathon.
The story is about women and friendship. As the world around them changes these women are busy building relationships with each other and with books.
In a broad sense It is about family. The ones we come from and the ones we create. It is about the frailty and fortitude. It is about awaking, change and growth.
It is also laugh out loud funny and tear-jerkingly sad. I mean really, how can you resist a book that starts out:
"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."
I was hooked from the first paragraph.
So grab your suntan lotion, your favorite drink and a bag of chips, sit in your favorite lounge chair and prepare to enjoy!
Here's the publishers synopsis:
Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.
For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967.
These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.
As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.
Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful, mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.
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