Monday, July 5, 2010

Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax

Magnolia Wednesdays by Wendy Wax. Berkeley Books - The Penguin Group (USA), Inc. March 2010. ISBN #: 9780425232354

Are you fantasizing that you're on the hit show, "Dancing With The Stars?" What is it about dancing that is so very, very satisfying that it seems like one's soul is flying free, with all the cares and concerns of the world gone for a brief, luscious time? What's it like when one gets to know real people in a real dance studio? What's happening in between the glamorous, exciting, vibrant moments? How can dance transform one's life?

Shot twice - once literally in the butt and then again figuratively by her boss, Vivien Gray is unemployed, with a bruised rear end and a very bruised ego! Unable to obtain another journalistic job as an investigative reporter and finding herself in another precarious state in her lower end of middle age state, Vivien comes up with a unique idea and travels to her sister, Melanie's home in Georgia to find out what the scoop really is about suburban lives. The discoveries and surprises are stereotypical and yet Wendy Wax has a delightful manner of presenting them so that it seems like one is reading about these facts and interpretations for the first time, with quite a bit of humor and playfulness added. How, for example can you tell the status of someone driving an SUV of a certain make and year, after considering all of the stickers all over the bumpers and windows?

The essence of this very readable story, though, is about people changing and evolving, growing apart and then growing closer, speaking one's mind honestly and dealing with the consequences, all in all making pivotal choices and running with the results. So Vivien has to deal with the sense of estrangement she senses in her niece and nephew, as well as the unacknowledged feelings her own sister is harboring against Vivien. Then there's Mom who's never quite satisfied with anything said, done and probably even thought by her daughters or a boyfriend who's never stuck around long enough to establish some depth in a relationship. There's Melanie's friend Ruth whose confidence grows enough to make an incredible challenge to her spouse of many years. On and on we read, moving deeper into the personalities, the talents and quirks of these very human people who are forced to struggle through their crises or forever be stymied by them.

Wendy Wax knows how to spin a credible, humorous, poignant and provocative story with some incredible issues behind it - all in a style that is surprising, credible and in a very real sense, life-changing.

Superbly written, Wendy Wax!!! More please!!!

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