February 09, 2012

Review: The Weird Sisters

The latest BlogHer Book Club installment is the debut novel The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Three sisters, who honestly don't really like each other all that much, return to their childhood home in a small college town when their mother is diagnosed with cancer. The part of the blurb that drew me in? The family--with its Shakespeare-professor father--are all voracious readers.

It is a fluffy book, in that everything-turns-out-right-in-the-end way, but the good sort of fluff: easygoing, engaging, and not too frivolous. The three sisters play awfully neatly into the birth order stereotypes of oldest-responsible/middle-lost/youngest-irresponsible, but that's kind of the point of the story. They need to see the ways they have taken on those roles without thinking and to realize they can grow beyond them.

It's told collectively by the three sisters. The first person plural narration ("We came home because we were failures") took several pages to get used to, but I liked the effect it had of making the family itself a character in its own right in a way. Because isn't that true of our families, especially our families of origin? They somehow become take on a realness in our minds that is more than just the collection of individuals; the family as an entity has a life of its own. I can think of my mother, my father, my brother as separate people, but there is also the influence and pull of Our Family, its shared quirks and flaws and memories.

There was also one bit at the end that stuck with me, "There are times in our lives when we have to realize our past is precisely what it is, and we cannot change it. But we can change the story we tell ourselves about it, and by doing that, we can change the future." It made me think of what many of us do when we write, when we blog. There is a way I think we are sometimes working to wrestle our lives into stories we can not just live with but embrace. That has, at least, been true for me.

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


Anonymous said...

Love that quote about the past and future.

Love is all you need said...

Great blog! thanks for sharing..

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