Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters
Eleanor Brown
Amy Einhorn Books
G. P. Putnam’s Sons
Penguin Group
ISBN: 978-0-399-15722-6
336 pages
Fiction, Sisters, Terminally Ill Parents, Middle-aged Women, Domestic

“See, we love one another. We just don’t happen to like one another very much.”

Sisters . . . mine included.

The Weird Sisters is about three adult women who are sisters and return home because of their mother being diagnosed with breast cancer. At least that is what it appears. Rosalind “Rose” is home because her fiancĂ© is studying in England and she is scared to leave the security of her job and being close to home. Bianca “Bean” is hiding from her former New York employer who fired her for embezzlement. Cordelia “Cordy” is home because she has no stability in her gypsy lifestyle and is developing a nesting instinct. The three grew up in this house with their father teaching Shakespeare at a local college and their mother staying at home to take care of the family. The daughters grew up without the advantage of having a television but with the gift of having a strong relationship with books and Shakespeare.

Surprisingly, the three daughters closely resemble each other physically, but are extremely different in personality and tend to resemble the Shakespearian characters of their names. Each one is dealing with their own personal conflicts and being unable to deal effectively in the real world with other humans.

“Instead, we were going to wrap ourselves in cloaks woven from self-pity and victimhood, refusing to admit that we might be able to help each other if we’d only open up. Instead, we’d do what we always did, the only thing we’d ever been dependably stellar at: we’d read.”

Although it is easy to identify with the sisters, the story itself was well-written but contrived. Reality does not resolve problems quite so nicely. The learned dysfunction of escaping your problems by reading instead of living and building relationships with others was evident in each of the daughters. Only by building relationships with others were they able to achieve balance within their lives.

The Weird Sisters is the debut book for Eleanor Brown who currently resides in Colorado. For a first novel, the story is good. The predictable audience for this novel is women, most likely those over thirty. I really don’t think men would enjoy this novel as it leans toward the romance genre.

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