NONFICTION REVIEW: "The Magic Room," by Jeffrey Zaslow

  • Article by: MELISSA WALKER , Star Tribune
  • Updated: January 15, 2012 - 8:04 AM

Bestselling journalist Jeffrey Zaslow delves into the emotional and colorful world of bridal shops, and finds life itself.

THE MAGIC ROOM by Jeffrey Zaslow

'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.

Bestselling author Jeffrey Zaslow (his previous book was "The Girls From Ames") delves into the multibillion-dollar bridal industry in his new book, which focuses on Becker's Bridal, the central attraction in the small town of Fowler, Mich. Run by four generations of Beckers, the store has seen more than 100,000 brides come through its doors.

Matriarch Eva Becker opened the store in the 1920s, a time when brides tried on no more than three dresses and the parents made the final decision. Eva's granddaughter, Shelley, now runs the place, where women struggle to decide which of the 85 dresses they tried on is "the one."

The big draw of Becker's is its "magic room," a special place with flattering lighting, full-length mirrors and even a polished pedestal where the bride can stand while trying on her dress(es). It's in this room where the final decision is made, tears of joy are shed, "I love yous" shared between mothers and daughters and magic created.

Zaslow follows eight brides, their fiancés and their families in "The Magic Room," passing on intimate details of what led couples to the altar.

Yet all is not calla lilies and toothy grins. Many of these brides-to-be first must pass a bittersweet crossroad, where they mourn the death of a loved one or analyze their relationship choices. Though 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.

Melissa Walker is a news assistant at the Star Tribune.

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