Friday, June 3, 2016

Book Review: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

I read this book because it’s been on my Overdrive #TBR list forever and when I was looking for a book it was available. Yay! It also seemed liked a good “counterbook” because I had crammed 10 young adult books into my head the week before to meet a challenge goal.
Here’s the Goodreads summary:

There is no problem that a library card can't solve. 

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. 

See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much. 

But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from -- one another, their small hometown, and themselves -- might offer more than they ever expected.

My tuppence:

The Weird Sisters is told from a first person, omniscient, kind of third person perspective. Hmmm. Maybe I’m not good at this. The narrator of the story is telling us about three sisters, calling each by name but referring to things in the “We.” This really seemed to work well for this book.

Rosalind (Rose) is the eldest, most together sister who has taken it on herself to care for her aging parents, especially once her mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. She has a wonderful but temporary job and a wonderful, understanding fiancé who wants to see the world. Rose, herself, has never been farther than their little town and needs to learn how to take care of herself.

Bianca (Bean) has gotten caught doing a terrible thing and returns home after learning of her mother’s illness. She continues to do terrible things, feel bad about them, and do more terrible things to feel bad about. She needs to learn how to be her own person and take some responsibility.

Cordelia (Cordie) is the baby. She returns home after being a wandering hippie, carrying a secret and having very few plans. She's still the baby but needs to grow up and settle down a little for every one's sake, including her own.

Each girl basically epitomizes the birth- order prototypes we've read about in textbooks. If you get passed that formula, the stories are interesting and you start to connect with the characters. Who hasn’t felt ill- defined and lost in their lives every now and then? Who hasn't done stupid things while criticizing their sister for the stupid things she's doing? Is that just me? And readers will definitely relate to this, from the book:
 They have memories of being shitty to each other, of not liking each other very much but the memories they think about when they all come home to support their mother and land after craziness are memories of love and breathless laughter. None can ever live up to the other’s expectations or their own. But by the end they’ve laid their stupid ideas aside and come to terms with their relationships with their parents, each other, and their small town.

It goes without saying that the book is LACED with Shakespeare references and quotes, right? The Weird Sisters is itself a Shakespeare reference and the characters communicate in quotes sometimes; Shakespeare and books being the shared language of the family. The book title also refers to the idea that the girls as children feel weird as children because they don’t watch television or socialize very much and again as adults as they return to the literal (and mental) place of their youth. 

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