Wednesday, October 12, 2011

#BookReview: The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown

Those familiar with Shakespeare's Macbeth remember the Weird Sisters, or the Three Witches, who predicted  Macbeth's ascension to power.  Well this book isn't about those weird sisters, but it is about the Andreas sisters.  Adult daughters of a stay at home mother and a father who just happens to be a professor of Shakespearean literature, the three have been raised with sonnets as their nursery rhymes.  Each sister was named after a famous Shakespearean woman and each has a distinct personality.

As the oldest, Rose has always felt responsible, not only for her younger sisters, but also for her parents.  A professor in her own right, she can't fathom leaving the small town of ever.  Engaged to Jonathon, a professor himself, Rose resists his request to join him in England where he has a fellowship, sure that her family will fall apart without her.

It was curious to us, who had so long enjoyed the benefits of Rose’s strength, had leaned on her for everything from ensuring our socks matched to keeping the secret of exactly how late we snuck out of the house to providing a sweet shoulder to cry on when things went horribly wrong, that Rose would need her own rock. But that was why he loved her better than we did - we loved her so much for her strength that we could never let her be weak, and he loved both parts of her equally.

Middle child Bianca, or Bean as she's known to family and friends, has always been the one that everyone knew would make it out of their small town.  Living a successful, from all counts, life in New York, Bean looks perfect on the outside, but stealing from her employer to keep up the facade is slowly eating away at her.  Hiding out in Barnwell should give her time to clear her head and come up with a plan to pay her former employer back.

Cordelia, aka Cordy, makes messes as she goes along, knowing that someone will clean up after her.  As the youngest, she's used to people covering for her.  Her parents and sisters have tolerated her nomadic, hippie lifestyle for years and rarely questioned her, so when Cordy finds herself pregnant, she figures they'll be willing to clean up her latest mess as well.

Though Bean and Cordy come home for differing reasons, it would appear that they've arrived at a time when their mother can really use them.  Diagnosed with breast cancer, their mother is happy to have all three of her girls around.  And even though Rose resents her sisters for breezing back into town with little regard for anyone, she's secretly happy too.

Sisters keep secrets.  Because sisters’ secrets are swords.

As much as the sisters vie for their parents' attention and affection, and show a general disregard for each other, they are still sisters.  I think sometimes we fail to see our siblings as the people that they really are, only seeing them through our filter, which is usually pretty one-dimensional.  An interesting look at how siblings, particularly sisters, see each other and communicate with them, I'd highly recommend The Weird Sisters for anyone struggling with how to relate to their siblings or in need of a good read.

What did you like about this book?
Each sister had a distinct personality and style that made them likable and unlikable at the same time.  So even if the sisters could only seen each other as one-dimensional characters, readers were able to see several facets of their character.

What didn't you like about this book?
Though it didn't bother me, the book is sprinkled with Shakespearean quotes.  For those not familiar with Shakespeare, I can see how it might be overwhelming and slightly annoying, but, in most instances, one of the characters translates the quote into modern English.

What could the author do to improve this book?
I can't think of a thing.

Published: January 2011

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