320 pages, published January 2011
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Welcome to my second blog post of my World Book Night series! In this post I will review my WBN book, Eleanor Brown's "The Weird Sisters." As a Book Giver, I got to pick my top three choices of WBN books to give away, and this book easily made my top three based on the synopsis of the book. Despite the mixed reviews on Good Reads, I was eager to read this book (and now, to give it away!).
The Andreas family shares a love of reading and learning. The father, a well known Shakespeare professor, named his three daughters after Shakespearean characters, and speaks almost entirely in verse. When their mother becomes ill with breast cancer, the three grown daughters return home to help care for her and run away from their own troubles. Rose (Rosalind), the oldest, is having doubts about her upcoming marriage when her fiance is offered a year long research fellowship in England. Bianca, the middle daughter, moved back from New York City after things weren't as they seemed. Cordelia, the youngest, returns home after aimlessly traveling he country for years. In coming home, they rediscover who they are, who they want to be, and what they've each been running from isn't so bad after all.
One of the main reasons this book got such bad reviews by several people on Good Reads was because of the narration style--it's in first person plural. I'll admit it threw me off at first. Sentences would start off as "Our mother...." and "Our father..."and then would mention all three sister's names in the same page. More than once I looked back to the beginning of the book to see if I missed someone...who was narrating this story?? But then I came to understand that it was all three sisters telling the story together, and I came to absolutely love this style of writing. By the end of the book, I felt as if the sisters were telling me the story while sitting in the living room having a cup of coffee. It was as if the sisters got together to tell the story after the book's events had happened. It totally worked for me once I got used to it.
Though somewhat predictable personalities of the stereotypical oldest/middle/youngest child, I found the characters interesting and easy to relate to. I related most to Rose--her desire for everything to be perfect, her need to control things, her fear of stepping out of her comfort zone. I feel most readers would relate to these sisters well, whether it be one sister or traits of all of them, even if you were an only child or don't have sisters.
Brown's writing is eloquent, flows well, and keeps you entertained. It was a difficult book to put down. The ending tied everything together, though it did leave me with questions that I could see as the makings of a great sequel. If you're looking for a feel good, family oriented book, then you'll love this novel. I especially recommend it for those who love reading and literature (due to all the Shakespeare references) but feel this book would be enjoyed by those who don't know Shakespeare as well, as any Shakespeare reference that is important to the story is explained. Overall, a good book to grab a cup of coffee or tea and snuggle up on the couch with!
Overall rating for "The Weird Sisters": A-