Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.
What bibliophile could resist The Weird Sisters, a story about three book-loving but otherwise very different sisters all named for characters from Shakespeare? I’ve succumbed to its charms twice, reading the book in 2011 and listening to the audio version in 2014.
My review from 2011:
I loved this satisfying, hopeful, intelligent book from start to finish. It’s a sort of belated coming of age story about three twentysomething, verging on thirtysomething, sisters who grew up in the small college town where their father is employed as a Shakespeare scholar. Their mother has just been diagnosed with cancer and they are all back home to help.
Each sister is named for a heroine from Shakespeare and the title, The Weird Sisters, comes of course from Shakespeare’s play Macbeth. When Macbeth was written the word “weird” meant something closer to fate, and the book’s story contains a mixture of determinism, because each sister is influenced by being born with a particular birth order into a household consumed with Shakespeare, and free will, since each sister immediately sets out to carve her own life.
When I read in reviews that The Weird Sisters has a first person plural narrator, a "we" that includes all three sisters, I pictured a homogenized Greek chorus and was extremely skeptical that the book could delve deeply enough into any of them to be interesting. That turned out to be far from true, and far from being interchangeable these sisters have stark differences that make it hard for them to get along sometimes. Part of why the first person plural works so well though—and it would be worth reading the book for that alone—is that being family the sisters share the same history, have common understandings, and know each other very well.
And they all love reading. When a soon to be dumped New York City boyfriend of Bianca’s asks incredulously how she has time to finish a few hundred books a year, she narrows her eyes and in a speech that will thrill reading addicts tells him she doesn’t waste hours flipping through cable channels complaining that nothing is on, doesn’t fritter away her Sundays on pre-game, in-game and post-game TV, and doesn’t hang out every night drinking overpriced beer with other hot shot financial workers. Instead, every moment in line, on the train, or eating she--and her sisters--spend reading.
But their differences are as significant as their similarities and all three sisters have big decisions to make. Rosalind, the oldest, has a passion for order, being in charge and staying put, but her fiancé wants the two of them to move to England. Bianca, the middle child, has taken great risks, even breaking laws, because she longs for attention, glamour and the kind of cosmopolitan life that can only be found far from their Ohio hometown, but after being fired from her job she has to rethink everything. Cordelia, the youngest, has been living a sort of always on the road hippie vagabond life, but now she’s pregnant and putting off telling anyone or even thinking much about her situation.
Part of the book’s charm is its beautiful scenes, especially the ones of common childhood memories, like the time all three sisters danced with wild abandon on their porch, and the time they “borrowed” the family car, even though none of them was old enough to drive, because they wanted oversize, late night ice cream cones. I am hoping for another book from Eleanor Brown.