Thursday, February 3, 2011

Review : The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, 2011. (Published January 20)

[Source: Goodreads Bookswap]

The Weird Sisters finds the Andreas sisters, Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia, returning home to the parents house in a small Ohio college town. Their father is a professor and scholar of Shakespeare thus the names given to his daughters. Each returns home under the pretense of caring for their ailing mother, but each holds a secret--secrets that reveal life hasn’t gone the way they planned. Over the course of the novel, secrets are revealed and each sister finds her way to true adulthood.

The Weird Sisters is told in first person plural tense, and I started the book trying to figure out who the narrator behind the “we” was. It seemed to shift constantly from sister to sister. I soon gave up trying to track it though and came to feel like I was part of the collective “we.” The story was too good and too well-written to worry about the narrator. I just wanted to learn more about these sisters.

Brown sprinkles Shakespeare quotes throughout the dialogue and narrative, but don’t let that intimidate you. You don’t really need a background in Shakespeare to enjoy this book. In fact, sometimes the sisters themselves, who have grown up with these words, aren’t sure of the meaning their father is trying to convey with the words of Shakespeare. They are merely a tool that often does convey great meaning and creates a sense of whimsy that is endearing.

I think most readers will find a piece of themselves in one or more of the sisters. I saw a little bit of myself in each, which probably increased my interest in their struggle towards growth. I was completely engrossed by this story of family and coming of age. Yes, I consider a coming of age story even though the sisters are early 30s to late 20s. None of them has come into their own when the novel begins, but each finds their path by the end. It’s a touching story and I felt a sense of hope when I finished.

The Weird Sisters is a beautiful debut, and I’m sure Eleanor Brown will continue to deliver wonderful novels in the years to come. I highly recommend The Weird Sisters to virtually any reader. You don’t need to be a Shakespearean scholar, down on your luck, or be as sister to appreciate this novel. I am none of these things, and I loved it.

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The Weird Sisters


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