Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Review of The Weird Sisters

I'm now on maternity leave with three weeks until my due date, Tessa is in day care, and I have this eery feeling of having too much time on my hands.  I therefore have no good excuse for not updating my book blog.

Jason picked up The Weird Sisters somewhat randomly when he went looking for books for me.  It's probably not one I would have chosen from the back cover, so I was eager to give it a shot.  And it was OK.  Not great, but not terrible.  Set in a small-town Ohio, it tells the story of three sisters who have all come home at difficult times in their lives.  Their mother is sick, and their quirky Shakespeare-professor father is struggling to care for her on his own.  Rosalind (Rose), the eldest, is an uptight control freak. Bianca (Bean) is the wild middle child, bucking the rules to set herself apart.  And Cordelia (Cordy), is the babied youngest, irresponsible and a bit flighty.

Bean returns home under the auspices of wanting to help care for her mother, but really because she is fleeing New York City after having bilked the law firm for whom she worked out of several thousand dollars to cover her expensive NYC lifestyle.  Cordy shows up in the middle of the night not having showered for days from her Deadhead/roaming the country/sleeping with random men lifestyle, pregnant and scared.  Rose, who has never left town (although she no longer lives at home), is missing her fiance, who has taken a temporary professorship in Oxford.  Needless to say, no one is happy, and that sets the tone for the entire book.

The sisters are not close, and they never have been.  What unfolds is a bit of a reckoning for all of them -- with their own demons, with the reality of their lives and where they all find themselves, with their long-held resentments and frustrations with one another, and ultimately, with themselves.  I found the self-reflection and examination that each sister is forced to conduct in the face of the other sisters and their mother's illness quite interesting, if not somewhat predictable.  It was difficult to 'like' anyone, which I always find difficult, as it's hard to really enjoy a book when you can't truly empathize with the characters because they're so unlikeable.  But I did want things to work out for each of them, and was therefore willing to read to the end and see how things unfolded.  Overall, this isn't a book I would recommend to someone, but it wasn't one that I would fling across a room either.


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