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The Wednesday Sisters: A Novel Hardcover – June 17, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In her light second novel, Clayton chronicles a group of mothers who convene in a Palo Alto park and share their changing lives as the late 1960s counterculture blossoms around them. Linda is a runner who tracks women's progress at the Olympics. Brett has one eye on the moon, where men are living out her astronaut dreams. Southern belle Kath isn't convinced she has dreams outside the confines of her marriage (but she's open to persuasion), while quiet Ally only hopes for what the other women already have: a child. Frankie, a Chicago transplant who has followed her computer genius husband to a nascent Silicon Valley, is the story's narrator and the ladies' ringleader, inspiring them all to follow her dream of becoming a writer. They write in moments snatched from their household chores and share their stories in the park. Though the narration and story lines are so syrupy they verge on hokey, Clayton ably conjures the era's details and captures the women's changing roles in a world that expects little of them. (June)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Set during the summer of 1968 in Palo Alto, California, Clayton’s novel chronicles the lives of five women who conduct a weekly writing group at their neighborhood park. Frankie is an unassuming midwesterner whose inventor husband brings them to the burgeoning Silicon Valley. She meets Linda, the all-American athlete; Kath, the southern belle; Brett, the enigmatic scientist; and Ally, the shy bohemian. The women share their feelings about marriage and motherhood and together mourn the assassination of Robert Kennedy and watch as man walks on the moon and feminists protest the Miss America pageant. They support one another through illness, infertility, racism, and infidelity—and encourage each other through publishers’ rejections. Readers will be swept up by this moving novel about female friendship and enthralled by the recounting of a pivotal year in American history as seen through these young women’s eyes. --Aleksandra Walker
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Top customer reviews
Interestingly, the Wednesday Sisters decided to form a writing club after what became their favorite annual show, the Miss America pageant. So, every Wednesday, they’d meet in the playground and discuss their attempts at writing. They also met with potluck dinners with their husbands in tow for future space explorations on television.
Each chapter gives a historical timeline of what took place at that time, whether it’s the astronauts and their first lunar landing in the sixties, Women’s Lib, the ERA, President Nixon’s resignation in the seventies.
In actuality, the book picks up interest when the sisters discover Ally’s husband, Jim, is Indian, and Linda, the most beautiful and opinionated of them all, is Jewish. There is amazement, followed by tactless questions and assertions, and then embarrassment at their (Kath, Frankie and Brett’s) ignorance. For several weeks, the Wednesday Sisters stopped meeting, but eventually, they regrouped, and apologized for their lack of diplomacy.
Except for Linda and Ally, the Wednesday sisters lived in a bubble at that time. They knew nothing of the world around them, except ‘their world,’ their friends and family. They didn’t know, as Frankie said, that other races than their own were educated professionals and lived in nice homes. They knew nothing about them.
The Wednesday Sisters showed affection, encouragement and advice through the good times and bad: For instance, Kath’s husband, Lee, a resident physician, made her feel minimized, by betraying and deceiving her with an affair with a female physician. Lee abandoned Kath and their three children, of which the eldest was eight. Linda suffered breast cancer, and the sisters were devoted to her. Ally could not hold a pregnancy longer than three months. Again, the sisters were there for Ally and Jim, when Ally gave birth to a preemie, they named Hope, who survived. The sisters encouraged both Frankie and Brett on their books. Frankie’s book took a nosedive in sales, but Brett’s book, “Mrs. America,” got her an interview with Johnny Carson on the Tonight Show, which the sisters attended.
Although the Wednesday Sisters were not blood relatives, they were comrades, who supported each other, were devoted and nurtured one another. This book reveals true friendships should be treasured; they are the salt of the earth.
I gave this book three stars.
I love friendship stories, and this one was no exception. What added a lot to the mix in this case in my opinion, was how particularly well developed was the time setting. I felt I was living at right at my mom's time. And when an author is able to send a reader time travelling with ease, well I really like that.
Besides that particular point, it is a very good story in which every character grows through the pages in a very good way. The plot runs with ease through the chapters and finds its highest at the correct moment.
I'd never read anything from this author in the past, but be sure I n the future, I will.
I loved the sisterhood that developed and how they were so supportive despite differences and natural rivalries and jealousies. Women get a bad rap about being their own gender's worst enemy, but I think this group were more representative of the truth. The writing was pretty straight forward, almost simplistic. I would have liked a little more creativity or memorable dialogue. But it was quite enjoyable overall!
Most recent customer reviews
Makes you want to go and find your own Wednesday sisters.Read more