The Bookworm Sez
TERRI SCHLICHENMEYER
‘The Magic Room’ is a bouquet of perfection

December 29th, 2011    Author: Administrator    Filed Under: Opinion

The Magic Room” by Jeffrey Zaslow; c.2012, Gotham Books; $27.00 / $28.50; 285 pages

They were married on the kitchen floor.

You remember it well, since you were the one who picked them up at day’s end. The fashion-conscious bride wore something Grandma sewed, and toilet tissue as a veil. Her beloved, a blue pony with long mane and tail, wore an ill-fitting tuxedo borrowed from another doll that your daughter also loved, but that was not invited to the wedding on the kitchen floor.

It seems like yesterday since she was playing wedding, and now she’s getting married herself. These days, it’s all about the dress – but as you’ll see in the new book “The Magic Room” by Jeffrey Zaslow, that’s only part of the love story.

Fowler, Michigan, is your typical small town.

There’s a sandwich shop there, and a small café. The local mechanic is helpful if your keys get locked in your car. Main Street has seen its share of business closings, openings, and closings again.

Terri Schlichenmeyer

But one store has stood in Fowler for more than seven decades; in fact, you might say that Becker’s Bridal is Fowler’s claim to fame.

When she was a very small child, Shelley Becker Mueller used to go with her mother to Becker’s Bridal to hang out. Shelley remembers hiding behind the voluminous dresses, eavesdropping on brides-to-be, waiting for her mother to call her, or listening for her grandmother – who started the store – to order decisions.

Today, and not without a minor familial struggle, Shelley is the owner of the store and her own daughter works at Becker’s Bridal. But the four-generation thing isn’t what makes brides drive from all over to find a white dress.

What makes them come is tradition – and the Magic Room.

Formerly a bank vault, the room sports teal carpet, gold-white walls, a pedestal, and mirrors that stretch to “infinity.” There, women can see themselves from all angles and sparkles, better able to recognize The Dress. Mothers always cry in the Magic Room. It’s where women become brides and dreams are made…

Like any good wedding, “The Magic Room” includes a bride.

Several, in fact, and author Jeffrey Zaslow followed them from the moment they first stepped into Becker’s Bridal. There’s the one who saved her first kiss for her future husband; the one with a missing mom; a life-changing car accident just months before the ceremony; the widowed bride with angry children; and the 40-year-old who wondered if she’d ever get married.

Like every good wedding, there are mothers fussing, helping, hoping.

And like every good wedding, you’ll find love and tears here; choked-up fathers, seven-story cakes, and the kind of silliness that makes good memories. There are mini-disasters and big emergencies, doubts and divas and yes, divorce. Overall, though, there’s Happily Ever After in this book, and I was completely captivated by it.

I think you will be, too – especially if you were ever a little girl who loved fairy-tale weddings, or the mom who loved that little girl. For mothers and daughters alike, “The Magic Room” is a bouquet of perfection.

The Bookworm is Terri Schlichenmeyer. Terri has been reading since she was 3-years-old and she never goes anywhere without a book. She lives on a hill in Wisconsin with two dogs and 12,000 books.

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