The Wednesday Sisters
Posted 24 May, 08on:
The Wednesday Sisters
by Meg Waite Clayton
This book seemed to have a magical quality, even in the way it arrived at my doorstep. I was complaining to the boys that I did not have anything to read during the next day of testing. The words had barely left my mouth when the doorbell rang. It was UPS delivering a package, a new book from the Early Reviewers Program. Most of the books I have read for the ERP have been “just okay,” at best. This one was a delight.
A group of young mothers strike up a conversation as their children play in the neighborhood park. The conversation quickly turns to favorite books. Having found kindred spirits, they agree to meet every week to discuss books while the children play. Gradually, the women reveal their desires to write books, not just read them. The book club evolves into a writing club.
The story is set in the late Sixties in Palo Alto, California. Women are beginning to break out of their traditional roles of mother and housewife. Integration is struggling to its feet. The author explores these concepts by weaving them seamlessly into the plot. Clayton does not beat the reader over the head with obvious didactics.
Each woman has a story to tell. Each woman has flaws and strengths. This makes them realistic. Clayton allows us to get them know them gradually, as we would with friends in real life. They seem like women I would be friends with in real life. While they lament options taken away from them by the very virtue of being women, they do not hate their husbands or resent their children. Their husbands, for the most part, are quite supportive and not at all misogynistic. At times, the husbands are a little clueless and wrapped up in their own lives, but is that not true in real life? I like these women because they enjoy being wives and mothers. They are not angry or self pitying. They want more and find a way to have it without destroying their families.
The plot is not earth shattering. The women write. Their children grow. Their husbands move forward in their careers. Of course, a writer hopes to be published. The author does not give her characters instant success. That would be unrealistic. The strength of the novel is not what happens to the women, but we learn about them as the book progresses. Reading The Wednesday Sisters is like making five new friends. I liked these women and enjoyed getting to know them.