Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

The book's synopsis from the author's website:

The Weird SistersThe Andreas sisters were raised on books – their family motto might as well be, ‘There’s no problem a library card can’t solve.’  Their father, a renowned, eccentric professor of Shakespearean studies, named them after three of the Bard’s most famous characters: Rose (Rosalind – As You Like It), Bean (Bianca – The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia – King Lear), but they have inherited those characters’ failures along with their strengths.
Now the sisters have returned home to the small college town where they grew up – partly because their mother is ill, but mostly because their lives are falling apart and they don’t know where to go next.  Rose, a staid mathematics professor, has the chance to break away from her quiet life and join her devoted fiance in England, if she could only summon up the courage to do more than she’s thought she could.  Bean left home as soon as she could, running to the glamour of New York City, only to come back ashamed of the person she has become.  And Cordy, who has been wandering the country for years, has been brought back to earth with a resounding thud, realizing it’s finally time for her to grow up.
The sisters never thought they would find the answers to their problems in each other, but over the course of one long summer, they find that everything they’ve been running from – each other, their histories, and their small hometown – might offer more than they ever expected.
I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful story about the most wonderful family that I wouldn't mind being a part of. Although, (as much as I hate this expression due to it being overused), it's really a universal story and we are all part of the Andreas family in how we're all messed up in one way or another, we all have our little failures and big ones too. The Weird Sisters speaks to the readers of our familial imperfections that make our families what they are and what we love them for because, just like the Andreas's, I believe we do pull one another out of troubles in the end.

As much as The Weird Sisters is the story about families, I reveled in the side of the book that concentrated on reading. After all, what self-respecting reader doesn't want to read a book about reading? Especially one that's written really well, with wit and humor? Even more than a book about readers, The Weird Sisters is really an hommage to Shakespeare (not that he needs any more of those) and one of the better ones at that, in my opinion. Mr. Andreas speaks to his daughters mainly in quotes from Shakespeare and the girls are also quick to answer likewise. The most surprising the delicious part is, it actually works! Ms. Brown proves that the Bard had a lot of life wisdom to impart and indeed he did. It turns out that it's not all just some kind of mumbo jumbo completely irrelevant in today's reality (as I shamefully sometimes thought myself) but words of sound advice that may just steer you in the right direction when it's needed most.

I know I haven't said enough about Eleanor's book but I guess you will just need to read it for yourself. It's a great piece of contemporary American fiction depicting the imperfect lives of women in the time of their lives when they have to make a decision to either be stuck in their sometimes childish, often ineffectual ways or to move on into adulthood and understand that they mostly have to 'to thine own self be true'. Once they are that, everything else will fall into place. But to know themselves truly is not an easy task at all and sometimes requires the help of people who really love and care about them.

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I received The Weird Sisters from Penguin via Shelf Awareness for review.

The Weird Sisters is coming on January 20th, 2011 from Amy Einhorn Books.