It had to do with knowing we were opening ourselves up, cutting ourselves open at our guts and letting the others see inside us in ways we couldn’t even see ourselves. It had to do with beginning to imagine opening ourselves up not only to each other, but also to the whole world. Because wasn’t that what we were hoping? That someday the things we’d squirreled away behind our little white gloves would be right out there on the bookshelves for anyone to see, our souls so pitifully disguised by our tortured prose? -From The Wednesday Sisters, page 82-
Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett and Ally meet each Wednesday in a park near Ally and Frankie’s home. It is there they talk about raising children and being married, until one day, Linda – honest and direct – pushes them to write, and thus begins the Wednesday Sister’s writing group…a place where each woman will discover exactly who she is and what she wants.
The Wednesday Sisters is set in the late 60’s – on the cusp of the woman’s movement, in the middle of the civil rights movement, and during a time when traditional values began to be challenged. Meg Waite Clayton has given us five women, all different and yet similar…women with their own dreams, aspirations, doubts, and fears. Together they demonstrate what is best about women’s friendships – gentle support, cutting honesty, and fierce loyalty. It is a time of growth, not only for the country, but for these women who have set aside their own dreams to support the dreams of their husbands, but who now want something for themselves. Along their journey the reader witnesses their struggles and sadnesses, along with their joy.
I found myself unable to stop reading this engaging novel. So much about The Wednesday Sisters rang true to me. I loved how Clayton captured the frustration and exhilaration of writing, the fear and desire to share what one has written, and the joy of being part of a writer’s group. I could relate to Ally’s fears of never having a child, Linda’s drive to change the world, Frankie’s fear of rejection, Kath’s pain of a failed relationship, and Brett’s secrets which she covers with her white gloves. Clayton has done something amazing with her cast of characters – she has encapsulated women at their best and worst, with all their shortcomings and strengths…and has given us a novel with which women will identify. At the end of this novel, I did something I rarely do – I sobbed. Not because of sadness, but because I felt touched by the lives of these women.
The Wednesday Sisters is a must read for women. Highly recommended.