Friday, March 11, 2011

The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown

A major new talent tackles the complicated terrain of sisters, the power of books, and the places we decide to call home.

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.
(Synopsis taken from Penguin.)

Title: The Weird Sisters
Genre: Adult Fiction
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Publication Date: January 20, 2011
Format: ARC
Source: Received from publicist. Many thanks goes to Bronwyn from Penguin Canada for sending me a copy of this book for review. I received this book free of charge in exchange for an honest review. 
Look for it: Penguin, Amazon, Book Depository.
My rating: 4/5

The Andreas sisters are all heading back home for one reason or another. The main reason they want you to believe is because their mother is ailing, and they are coming home to care for her. The actual reason for each sister's homecoming is much more secretive. They are all running from a past that has been less than stellar, and are hoping to recharge, while they figure out what to do with their lives. What they don't realize is that every sibling is headed home, so the Andreas household is full again. With a father who speaks in Shakespearian phrases, the whole family must have a healthy relationship with books, and specifically, Shakespeare's works. This coming of age novel is sure to entertain as the sisters realize that this might be the crossroads they are looking for to improve their lives for the better. 
Rose, Bianca, and Cordy are all exceptional characters and their nuances made each of them shine in their own way. Though I found myself identifying the most with Rose, as we are both the oldest siblings in our respective families, I couldn't help but identify with Bianca and Cordy as well. They are well-rounded characters, flawed, and most of all, human. With their return to the family home, they learn more about the bond a family has, and how they are there for each other, regardless of past grievances. I especially enjoyed the voice of the novel as it wasn't just one sister talking. It seemed like I was the fourth invisible sister which made it seem like I was privy to information that the other sisters weren't aware of at times. 
The other aspect I enjoyed was the fact that the whole family loved reading. They could pick up a book, read it anywhere, and if one family member set it down for any length of time, they might not get it back before the rest of the family had finished reading it. The Shakespeare quotes were excellent as well, and I found it interesting to see how they communicated with each other in Shakespearian verse. 
Many of the thoughts and comments throughout the book resound with a familiarity for those with siblings. Most of them could be applicable to life in every family, especially a family of readers.
All in all, an exceptional, coming of age debut that chronicles the lives of the Andreas sisters, Rose, Bianca, and Cordy. Many will enjoy the similarities between the siblings and their own respective families, and they will most likely love the comments about reading and family. I'd definitely recommend this to anyone, especially as the book states, "there is no problem that a library card can't solve". 

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