Less than a week ago I laid out eight or so books on the couch and had Reece pick the next book I’d read. I had discovered that by focusing on one book at a time I was able to get more invested in the novel and subsequently, enjoy it more.
Before kids I would read six or more books at once. Pick up one when another bored me or buy a new one and start it immediately. But kids makes that a bit difficult. Yes, I can still read multiple books at once but I found that I wasn’t choosing to read when I had free time because it would sometimes take time to figure out what was happening where I left off. If I am only reading one book, my focus on just one story, I am able to pick it up and put it down at a moment’s notice with little time wasted getting back into the right frame of mind.
The Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown
I literally just finished The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown and I can’t shut off the ‘happy’. (Sidebar: how great that I can use ‘literally’ in a sentence and not only have it grammatically accurate but have it match the subject of the sentence, literature!) I was not prepared for how much I would adore this book.
When I started pulling books from my library for Reece to choose from I acted with little thought of the story within the pages. I remembered the high I got when I became interested and purchased the books and wanted to relive that feeling by finally reading one. I set them all up in an even line on the couch and told Reece to pick. I couldn’t decide which one to read next so I figured I would let him choose. He walked back and forth –taking his new job so seriously- and finally picked The Weird Sisters.
I felt a bit deflated. Yes I pulled it off the shelf as an option but it wasn’t one I was particularly leaning towards. I told myself I would read the book he picked no matter what and dammit I was going to read it!
Now, trying to think back, I can’t remember why I wasn’t eager to read it. It sounds so interesting to me now; three sisters, Shakespearean undertones, classic literature quotes and as it states so perfectly in the back cover synopsis, “not even a book can solve what ails them.” A book filled with characters who love to read! That is me!
First on the writing style because that is more important to me than the story. If I can’t get past the author’s voice I will not enjoy the book. I was so confused at first. The narrator wasn’t clearly defined. Everything was in the third person except when “we” or “our” was used. All three sisters were telling the story using a collected voice. I began to figure that out but it was confirmed on page 118, “we whispered to her” in reference to telling one of the three something. Once the collected voice ‘clicked’ for me it didn’t seem out of place anymore; if anything, it was comforting. Their father, a Shakespeare enthusiast and professor at the local university, continually quotes his idol in conversation; as do the girls but not with the same frequency as their dad. The quoted Shakespeare may seem intimidating at first but it effortlessly becomes part of the dialogue; unique.
Then comes my thoughts on the characters. All three have stereotypical undertones but came off as mostly believable. Crazy thing is, if the author would have included a fourth sister it could have been an inflated image of me and my three sisters (years ago before we all grew up and became responsible adults). The responsible/motherly/overbearing one, the business/big city/fashonista, and the careless/immature/free-spirited one. All three sisters bring their troubles to their childhood home as a way to –attempt to- escape them and to help their mother as she battles breast cancer (seriously, breast cancer? Are you trying to hit close to home for me, Ms. Brown?).
It was refreshing to taste from all three sisters perspective. The troubles these sisters are going through rings true for so many sisters; thinking she has it better than me, she has her shit figured out, she is our parents’ favorite, and so much more. All sisters think like this whether it be a conscious thought or one that haunts without ever identifying itself, it is there. We are all our own worst critic while easily focusing on what seems like others have right. One sister wants what she thinks her sister has but, in reality, that sister doesn’t have her shit either. Their mother explains it best -and catches her girls off guard- when she says, “we’re all fuckups.” Although they were already on the path to realizing that, their mother’s colorful exclamation acts as a light-bulb moment for her daughters.
There is so much to say about this book and I could go on for days –I may already have- and still not cover all the little things I liked. Like the kittle details that make a big impact, the intricacies that add so much. This book was enjoyable and I look forward to Ms. Brown’s future works. The concept isn’t exactly original, the characters go through personal transformations to come out better on the other side, but it didn’t feel like a book I’ve read before. They figured themselves out, made some tough decisions, became better sisters to one another, and learned a little about humanity in the process. It has made the list of books I would recommend to a friend, especially if you have sisters.
To give credit where credit it due, image stolen from Amazon.com.