I just finished reading The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish For Our Daughters, (2012) by Jeffrey Zaslow. This is a tender, gentle, loving, funny, touching, inspirational, thoughtful work. As I just now typed those words I thought that those would be some of the same words I would use to describe what I know of Mr. Zaslow. Those are the words I would use to describe the type of man I admire in the world. And I sure am an admirer of Mr. Zaslow and his writing.
Mr. Zaslow wanted to write a book about the kind of married love parents want for their children. He found an interesting little shop in the middle of nowhere and that is the background for this book. In Fowler, Michigan he found Becker's Bridal ~ a shop that stocks approximately 2,500 gowns ~ more than twice as many wedding gowns as the number of residents of the town. The shop has been owned by the same family since 1934. The building was formerly a bank. What was once the vault has been turned in to the Magic Room. When a bride narrows down her choice of gowns to one she is then taken to the Magic Room ~ a room with mirrored walls, soft lighting, a pedestal on which to stand to make sure it is the one. It is in this room where brides, mothers, fathers, grandmothers, siblings and friends often can not contain their emotions. A special room, used when making a hopefully once in a lifetime purchase. Thus, this book is about the Becker family, the shop, the business, the brides. It is specifically a book about 6 brides chosen by Mr. Zaslow and their stories. It is the story of the love between parents and daughters, daughters and grooms and the beginnings of commitments. It is a story of hope. I highly recommend it.
The first thing I ever read of his was The Last Lecture (2008) with Randy Pausch. I consider it one of the best books I have ever read. It was an honor to read that book. The Last Lecture is the type of book that, if read with an open heart, changes you for the better. It was with amazement that I experienced how Mr. Zaslow and Mr. Pausch could take mere words and touch every ounce of emotion in me. Both men among men in my eyes. Mr. Zaslow wrote The Girls from Ames (2009) and I read it, but that was during the dark days after my breakdown and I don't remember anything except the title. I will have to read it again soon. Mr. Zaslow also co-wrote Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters with Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (2009); as well as Gabby: A Story of Courage and Hope (2011) with Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, astronaut Mark Kelly. I have not yet read these books but they are on my list of must-reads.
I am very sad to write that a month after The Magic Room was released Mr. Zaslow tragically died in a car wreck. He was returning home from a book signing in Michigan February 2012 when he lost control of his car in a snowstorm and hit a semi. He was 53, and left behind a wife and three daughters.