The Weird Sisters. Finished 4-20-16, rating 4.25/5 , fiction, pub. 2011
Unabridged audio read by Kirsten Potter. 10 hours, 26 minutes.
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.
Let me start by mentioning that I went and heard Curtis Settenfeld speak tonight about her latest book, Eligible, inspired by Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice (more on that later). She talked a little about how Austen had many unlikeable, unredeemable characters and how that it was different in today’s fiction. As I sit here to write this review for a book I finished weeks ago, I have to say that in these three weird sisters, Brown has created some unlikeable characters, the biggest difference being that they all (more or less) achieved some redemption by the end. The sisters were so distinct and, yet, so flawed that it made the story recognizable.
Two Andreas sisters were called back to Barnwell, a small, fictional Ohio college town, because their mother had been diagnosed with cancer, the third was still living there. Rosiland, the responsible oldest, was afraid to leave. Bianca, the middle sister, was a mess in more ways than one, thinking nothing of stealing thousands from her boss or sleeping with the husband of a woman she respects. And, poor baby Cordelia, arrived on the doorstep preggers and unwilling to name a father. I have always wanted a sibling or two, most only kids do at some point, because when push comes to shove, whether you like them or not, there is always a bond. Stories about sibling dynamics always fascinate me and I really enjoyed this messed up family that quoted Shakespeare and would rather read books than do pretty much anything else.
The story is told from what feels like a fourth ghost sister. When I looked around, I saw it called a ‘plural collective’, ‘community voice’, and the probably most correct ‘first person plural’. At first I was a little confused about which sister was narrating the story, but (not as quickly as I should have) realized that it was really all of them. It was inventive and felt like a fresh way to tell a time-old story about sisters. I really liked this one.
I read and listened to this one and would recommend either.