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Review: The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown didn’t initially strike me as a book that I would walk away from changed. I figured I would once again read a book, enjoy it or not, review it and life would continue. For the most part, that’s what happened.

But every once in awhile, a novel will throw a few points at me, a few quotable passages, that make me think about my life in different ways… about myself in different ways. The Weird Sisters may very well be a fictional account of three sisters who “go back home.” And, if I may step off of my train of thought for a second, the book made me simultaneously sad and happy that I was never blessed with a sister. We might have killed one another. I’ll take my stinky brother any day. Back on track, the book may have been about three sisters. It may have been an enjoyable, quick read. It may very well sit atop my list of favorite 2012 books; it’s only mid-February, so there’s time left to see.

But it was also a book that wasn’t of the self-help variety that made me question myself, how I view myself and if I’m doing it all wrong. Or right. Or something in the middle.

The passage that caught my breath comes somewhere near the end. You don’t need the back story to appreciate it for what it says:

“We all have stories we tell ourselves. We tell ourselves we are too fat, or too ugly, or too old, or too foolish. We tell ourselves these stories because they allow us to excuse our actions, and they allow us to pass off the responsibilities for things we have done — maybe to something within our control, but anything other than the decisions we have made.”

The Weird Sisters

Gut punch much?

I don’t own highlighters anymore, so I got out colored pens and underlined it, multiple times in some places. I recognized myself in that paragraph; the excuses I make for not being organized or not writing that book or being late or being fat or not being myself or yelling at my kids or my anxiety or, the elephant in the room, my daughter.

So not only did I take away a lovely reading experience from this novel, but I took away this great big thought. I don’t quite know what to do with it or where to put it or even how I feel about it, but it has stuck with me in the days since I finished reading and I feel as if it will stick with me for quite some time.

For more about The Weird Sisters, check out the BlogHer Book Club discussion.

This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

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Review: The Magic Room

Reading The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters by Jeffrey Zaslow during the month of my seventh wedding anniversary was a trip down memory lane.

Post-Ceremony

I didn’t even want to try on the wedding dress I wore as I walked down the aisle. My mom picked it out, which knocked it completely out of my desire-range. I tried on the other four that I had picked out in our first pass of Henri’s, and they weren’t right. I put on the dress my Mom had grabbed. And it was the one.

Dress Collage

I have fun memories of picking out my wedding dress with my Mom. I remember teasing my husband that he would need to stop drinking at our reception a few hours before he wanted to get me out of it, as it was rather complicated. I remember seeing his face. I remember feeling like a princess.

But I was aware, even then, that our marriage was more than my wedding dress. Or even the wedding.

Ceremony Candids

We didn’t have an expensive wedding. We did have a big wedding because my family is rather large. But we didn’t go into debt to host our own wedding. We had a lovely day, I promise you that. We were just aware that we wanted more than just one day. We wanted a lifetime.

A few people made jokes this year, as we celebrated our seventh anniversary, that we should beware that old “seven year itch.” I was pleased when The Magic Room let me know that the largest number of divorces now occur in the fourth year. We’re safe! Not that we’ll stop trying, working on things and through things, as the book states.

I did not appreciate the commentary and underlying judgment that those women who want a white dress, even though they already have a child, are somehow in the wrong. Considering the Munchkin was at my wedding, and I was most certainly wearing white, I felt this part of the book and the discussions about what is and is not right when it comes to marriage and family and children was just way too off base.

When it comes down to it, The Magic Room might be a great gift to hand to a woman who is just recently engaged and is looking for a dress. But, as a note, there is a love that mothers also wish for their sons, and it’s more than what’s in a dress or a wedding celebration.