While My Sister Sleeps, by Barbara Delinsky

Cover ImageFinished 9-17-09, rating 4/5, fiction, pub. 2009

“Let’s take it step by step,” the doctor said.  First, stabilization.  Beyond that, it’s really a question of waiting.  There’s no husband listed on her tag.  Does she have kids?”


“Well, that’s something.”

“It’s not.”  Molly was desperate.  “You don’t understand.  I can’t tell my mother Robin is lying here like this.”  Kathryn would blame her.  Instantly.  Even before she knew that it truly was Molly’s fault.  It had always been that way.  In her mother’s eyes.  Molly was five years younger and ten times more troublesome than Robin.

Chapter 1

Molly and Robin  are sisters.  They live together, work together, depend on each other.  Robin is a world class marathoner and Molly has spent her life helping Robin accomplish her running goals.  Their mother, Kathryn, is a strong-willed woman with love for Robin and little understanding for Molly.  The dad, Charlie and brother, Chris are the silent support.  When Robin has a heart attack when running the family must come to terms with the grim possibility that Robin may never fully recover.

This is the story of a family facing an unspeakable tragedy.  Robin is only 33 and her family is shell shocked.  Molly tries to figure out what Robin wants and Kathryn vents on anyone who comes her way, even the good Samaritan who saved Robin’s life.  When Molly discovers a long kept family secret and does something about it, Kathryn is horrified.

Molly was a great character, sort of a good friend who has no idea how great she really is.  Her mother expected her to support Robin in her lofty goals and she always felt like a disappointment.  Which leads to Kathryn, who I really wanted to shake for most of this book.  I did become less frustrated with her as the story continued, but she was not a feel good character.  I liked Charlie, but Chris and his troubles were really my least favorite parts of the book.  He had way too many excuses to not try to make his marriage work.

There was a lot going on in this book and it was a fast and thought provoking read.  The characters were all well drawn and the secrecy, favoritism, and medical issues all made for an engrossing read.  It was also the story of personal growth and the full circle of life.  I really enjoyed it.