Thursday, February 09, 2012

BlogHer Book Club Review: The Weird Sisters

Every now and then, I get the urge to find a book club to join.  Then I remember that making a monthly commitment to something new is exactly what makes me feel overscheduled and stressed out, so I sit on that urge until it passes.

I think I might have found the perfect opportunity, though, in the BlogHer Book Club.  I can opt in when I have time to read, and it gives me something to blog about.  Win!

When The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown showed up in my mailbox, I was totally stoked.  It was the first free thing I've gotten as a blogger.  It had a gorgeous cover, that familiar smell of brand-new, unopened books, and the promise of a window into someone else's life for a few hours.

It did not disappoint.  The prose was *lovely*.  So lovely that I stuck little Post-It flags all over it to capture phrases I thought were particularly beautiful.  It's rare that I feel moved to do this, so I knew this book was special from the start.

In summary, it's about three sisters who go back to live in their childhood home with their parents, ostensibly to help care for their sick mother, but really because each of their lives is in turmoil.  Their father is a professor of literature who specializes in Shakespeare, so there are plenty of references to the Bard's works sprinkled throughout.  This took me right back to 11th grade English with Mr. Maurer, and the two fabulous classes I took in college from Prof. Jenijoy LaBelle.  Apparently I have been taught well, because most of the references were familiar to me.

The book is written in 1st person plural voice -  "we" - as though the sisters are narrating as one entity.  It was a little odd at first, but I got used to it quickly, and it's a charming way to tie together the story about three very distinct personalities.

I didn't identify with any one of the sisters, but could relate to parts of each of them.  They all frustrated me to some degree, but not so much that it hampered my enjoyment of the book - I liked that they seemed real, with complexity and flaws, rather than being easily assigned as "the good one", "the wild one", etc.

I finished the book in a few days (record time for me lately!) and was truly sad when there was no more to read.  The characters stuck with me afterwards, and I find myself re-reading parts of it just to enjoy the writing.

There's a "Dumbledore moment" at the end, where one of the ancillary characters is counseling one of the sisters.  I don't think it's giving away too much by sharing the wisdom with you.  It's one of my favorite passages:
We all have stories that we tell ourselves.  We tell ourselves we are too fat, or too ugly, or too old, or too foolish.  We tell ourselves these stories because they allow us to excuse our actions and they allow us to pass off the responsibility for things we have done - maybe to something within our control, but anything other than the decisions we have made.
How awesome is that?  I wholeheartedly recommend this book if you're looking for a fairly quick and easy, high quality piece of fiction inhabited by interesting female characters.

I was compensated for this review by BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.


  1. Sweet! I had this one in my Nook wish list and I kept passing it over for a quicker, less thought provoking book. But now, now I may have to read it.

    BTW you could write a book. You write very well and express things - well - expressively. = )

  2. @Jenn - Thanks for the lovely compliment. You should *totally* read this. It's a pretty easy read, but not at all trashy, and very satisfying.

  3. My library has an e-copy, which means I'll be reading it just as soon as I finish what I've currently got out. Woo hoo! Thanks for the suggestion.

  4. @Jenn and @Stephanie - I'm curious about what you guys think when you've read it.

  5. my review was based on me not having any siblings.. how wild was the plural first person?

  6. @Hilary - thanks for dropping by. I dug the voice once I got into the book.


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