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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.

The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters - Eleanor Brown I loved this satisfying, hopeful, intelligent book from start to finish. It’s a sort of belated coming of age story about three twenty-something 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. Each of the sisters is named for a heroine from Shakespeare and the title, The Weird Sisters, comes 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—and it would be worth reading the book for that alone—is that being family the sisters spring from a common origin, share a common history, have common understandings and know each other very well, in spite of their dissimilarities. 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 be thrilling to the reading addicts in the audience, she tells him she doesn’t waste hours flipping through cable channels complaining that nothing is on, doesn’t spend her entire Sunday 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 have big decisions to make. Rosalind, the oldest, and has a passion for order, being in charge and staying put. Bianca, the middle child, has taken great risks because she longs for attention, glamour and the kind of cosmopolitan life that can only be found far from their Ohio hometown. Cordelia, the youngest, is a hippie vagabond and is newly pregnant with no father in sight, which is straining her role of being Daddy’s favorite. Part of the charm of the book is that it is full of beautiful scenes, especially the ones that have some of their common memories of childhood, like the time they danced with wild abandon together on their porch and the time they “borrowed” the family car when none of them was old enough to drive because they wanted to eat oversize, late night ice cream cones. I am looking forward to Eleanor Brown's next book.