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The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters Kindle Edition

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Length: 320 pages
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

For brides across Michigan and much of the Midwest, Becker’s Bridal in Fowler, Michigan, with its famous, mirror-encircled Magic Room, is the only place to shop for the gown of their dreams. Forget the chain stores and online catalogs! Thousands of brides-to-be, along with their mothers, aunts, and sisters, make the trek to the tiny town each year to choose from among 2,500 dresses. Becker’s has been owned by four generations of women since 1934. The current owner’s great-grandparents took ownership in 1899, her grandparents in 1928, and her mother in 1974. An average of 54 Becker’s brides walk down the aisle on any given weekend, and best-selling author Zaslow (The Last Lecture, 2008) delves into a dozen or so of their stories, including those of Danielle, whose mother died when she was 14 and whose grandmother is there for support on dress-choosing day; Meredith, the 40-year-old bride who never thought she’d actually take that momentous step; and Julie, the 45-year-old widow with five children and four step-children-to-be. With three daughters himself, Zaslow has a unique interest in his topic, which he clearly relished. --Deborah Donovan

Review

“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


Product Details

  • File Size: 3289 KB
  • Print Length: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Reprint edition (December 27, 2011)
  • Publication Date: December 27, 2011
  • Sold by: Penguin Group (USA) LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B005ERITA2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #248,772 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Through his Wall Street Journal column and bestselling books, Jeffrey Zaslow has told the stories of some of the most inspirational people of our time.

Jeff is best known for The Last Lecture, written with Randy Pausch, which has been translated into 48 languages, and was #1 on best-seller lists worldwide. Five million copies have been sold in English alone, and the book remained on The New York Times best-seller list for more than 112 weeks.

Jeff's latest book, The Magic Room: A story about the love we wish for our daughters, was published in January 2012. The nonfiction narrative is set at a small-town Michigan bridal shop, and looks at the lives of a handful of brides (and their parents) who've journeyed to the store's "Magic Room." Details at www.magicroombook.com

In 2011, Jeff collaborated with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, veteran astronaut Mark Kelly, on their memoir, GABBY: A Story of Courage and Hope. The book received a great deal of attention, including a cover story in People magazine, and an hour-long ABC TV special hosted by Diane Sawyer. GABBY debuted near the top of the New York Times bestseller lists for both hardcovers and e-books.

Jeff's 2009 book about female friendship, The Girls From Ames, spent 26 weeks on The Times list, rising to #3. People magazine named it one of the "Ten Best Books of the Year." Lifetime Television is adapting the book for a movie.

Also in 2009, Jeff coauthored Highest Duty, the memoir of Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger, who famously landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Highest Duty debuted at # 3 on The New York Times list.

Jeff's Wall Street Journal column focuses on life transitions and often attracts wide media interest. That was certainly the case in September 2007, after he attended the final lecture of Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch. Jeff's column about the talk sparked a worldwide phenomenon. Millions of people viewed footage of the lecture. Intense media coverage included The Oprah Winfrey Show and an ABC special.


Jeff is drawn to the topics he writes about because he has created a beat unlike most others in journalism. While The Wall Street Journal covers the heart of the financial world, Jeff tends to the hearts of its readers.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists twice named him the best columnist in a newspaper with more than 100,000 circulation. In 2008, he received the Distinguished Column Writing Award from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association.

Jeff's TV appearances have included The Tonight Show, Oprah, Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Jeff first worked at the Journal from 1983 to 1987, when he wrote about a competition to replace Ann Landers at the Chicago Sun-Times. He entered to get an angle for his story, and won the job over 12,000 applicants. He worked at the Sun-Times from 1987 to 2001, and was also a columnist for USA Weekend, the Sunday supplement in 510 newspapers.

In 2000, Jeff received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award for using his column to help 47,000 disadvantaged children. For 12 years, he hosted an annual singles party for charity, Zazz Bash, which drew 7,000 readers a year and resulted in 78 marriages.

A Philadelphia native, Jeff is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, where he majored in creative writing. His wife, Sherry Margolis, is a TV news anchor with Fox 2 in Detroit. They have three daughters: Jordan, Alex and Eden.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

21 of 21 people found the following review helpful By The Friendship Doctor on January 3, 2012
Format: Hardcover
If the mirrors of the Magic Room could speak, they would have compelling tales to tell about love, life, parenting and marriage. Instead, Wall Street Journal columnist and author Jeffrey Zaslow has given them voice in his engaging new book, The Magic Room: A Story about the Love We Wish for our Daughters.

This new book (Gotham Books, January 2012) tells the story of four generations of a family who have run Becker's Bridal Shop in Fowler, Michigan since 1934, a shop that has become a destination shopping experience for brides in the Midwest. Fowler only has a population of 1100 residents but behind the shop's doors are some 2500 wedding gowns, "more wedding dresses per capita than any other municipality in the United States, or perhaps in the world," he writes.

An estimated 100,000 women have passed through the shop, trying on gowns and seeking advice first from Grandma Eva, and then from successive generations of Becker sales ladies in search of the perfect dress that reflects their dreams, lifestyle, and budget. "The Becker's building, meanwhile, is crammed not just with dresses, but with history," writes Zaslow.

The author follows eight women who have stood on the circular pedestal in the Magic Room, once a steel vault in a former bank, which has been transformed into a fairytale setting with infinity mirrored walls, gold paneling, and soft lighting. This rich, multi-layered story reflects on the history of brides and marriage in America amidst shifting values and cultural mores -- and powerfully describes the emotional relationships between fathers and daughters, mothers and daughters, and women and men.
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Format: Hardcover
The Magic Room by Jeffrey Zaslow is a non-fiction look at Becker's Bridal shop, a fourth generation family business that still operates in the small town of Fowler, Michigan. Although this book looks at the bridal business and also chronicles eight families' quest for a bridal gown and their story, Zaslow's initial intent was to look at the topic of love as he raises his own daughters.

Zaslow is able to alternate between the story of Becker's Bridal Shop and its history as well as the eight brides' stories he shares. Each is a unique story - from a widowed mother of five who is remarrying to a young woman injured in a car accident just a few months before her wedding and still undergoing therapy and medical procedures to correct the injuries she sustains. I enjoyed reading about each bride and their path to this small town bridal shop.

As times have changed I am amazed that this small town business can still exist and compete with the bridal chains and other competitors, a testament to the concept of hard work and excellent customer service, creating a place where mothers want to take their daughters as they look to plan a wedding.

I enjoyed Zaslow's writing, which I became familiar with while reading The Girls from Ames, also by Zaslow. Yet, there were times when I felt he made things seem too picture perfect, something I noticed in his previous book. As someone who is married and planned a wedding, I didn't really relate to Zaslow's theory of such a preoccupation with the wedding dress a bride-to-be selected. Tears were not shed by me or my mother or anyone else who saw me in my wedding dress. I didn't stand in a Magic Room on a pedestal to model my dress for a group of bridesmaids as many of these women did.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on January 9, 2012
Format: Hardcover
The Magic Room actually is a physical place. It is a room, only eight by ten feet, on the second level of Becker's Bridal in the small, rural town of Fowler, Michigan. In the center of the room, which is softly lit and filled with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, is the carpeted pedestal from which brides-to-be try on their dresses for the folks who accompany them --- often mothers, members of the bridal party, and rarely fathers --- to see for the first time.

Although the dress itself is just one facet of the wedding, much time, effort and money are spent in search of the perfect one. As might be expected, many emotions --- some of them conflicting in nature --- are experienced in the Magic Room, such as pride and love, and perhaps a touch of regret that the little girl has grown up so quickly. Many a bride-to-be experiences delight, mixed with a bit of apprehension. Every woman who comes to Becker's in search of her wedding dress has a story --- and a family who is quite emotionally invested in her happiness.

Becker's Bridal is housed in a former bank building, and perhaps it is appropriate that the Magic Room at one time contained the bank vault. The store is filled with 2,500 dresses and has outfitted over 100,000 brides thus far. In the '50s, most brides were quite young and accompanied by their mothers, who had a large say in the choice of their daughters' dresses. Parents usually paid. Times have changed, though. The brides are getting a bit older. Many have careers of their own, and since they may be purchasing the dress themselves, they choose it. All the women who walk through that door want to find the perfect dress and have hopes of living happily ever after. Sadly, this is not always the case.
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