Friday, September 5, 2008

The Mirror by Marlys Millhiser

The good thing about book groups is that you can be exposed to books that you normally would not pick up on your own! The Mirror was one such book for me! In fact, considering that I could not even find a copy in the area I live and I had to order the book online, I know that I definitely would have never read this book if it were not for it being chosen by our book group!

This book was originally written in 1978 and reprinted in 1994; therefore, it is an older book and allows the reader to not only get into the actual written story, but also experience the world as it was years ago when the author originally wrote it. And, though it is a complete work of fiction, it was inspired by a real home known as the "Gingerbread House" that still stands today in Colorado and I believe is still the headquarters for Historic Boulder.

As for the story itself, it is really three interlocking stories from three different points of view all centered around the wedding mirror. The wedding mirror is a mirror that is known by those who've seen it as not only ugly, but also evil. Some say they can see moving pictures of the past or future, others may not live to tell what they've seen. As for Shay, the main character of the first story, the mirror transports her the night before her wedding into a completely different time and body . . . as her grandmother Brandy the night before her wedding. Shay must learn to live as Brandy, adjust to the time of long ago with many different opinions and traditions. The second story is of Rachael, the daughter of Brandy and how her life centers around the wedding mirror. Little does she know how much this mirror plays such a large role in her life, affecting her relationship with her mother and her daughter. Finally, the third story is that of Brandy. The same night that Shay is transported into Brandy's body, Brandy is transported into her's. Brandy, finding it more difficult to fill Shay's shoes, then has to begin to adjust not only living in a new body, but also living in a much different time than she is used . . . and pregnant, nonetheless, with no memory of the act that resulted in the physical state!!

I really enjoyed the concept of this book! It made me begin to think just how much times have changed and what it would have been like if I was suddenly swept into the body of my grandmother or great grandmother. I could not ever imagine living a life without electricity or indoor plumbing! I particularly enjoyed the first half of the book, Shay's story as Brandy. It was well written and definitely kept me intrigued; however, the second half of the book, particularly Brandy's story as Shay was the weaker part of the story. It not only left me hanging and wanting more, but it also just did not engage me as much as the first half. I was not as invested in the characters and did not find myself relating or attaching as much to Brandy's character. Overall, however, I would recommend this book! It truly takes you on a trip into the past, reading about life not only in the early 1900's, but also experiencing life as a young adult in the late 1970's! A sure trip in time and a very enjoyable one at that!!

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