Six impossible things before breakfast.

A library science student's perspective on life, the universe, and everything.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

The Weird Sisters

While not the sort of book I would usually pick up, The Weird Sisters left me interested to see what comes next for first time novelist, Eleanor Brown. This lighthearted family drama follows the stories of three sisters who live very different lives; each faces trials that bring her back to her college-centric hometown and the family that lives there, where the resulting intersections cause the siblings to reflect, remember, and eventually move on with their lives. As one of three sisters myself and someone who grew up in a town where life revolves around the local university, I started off the book with some natural connections to the story. But my family (I suppose I'm glad to say) has very few literal similarities to the Andreas clan, who are not exactly a fairy tale bunch. Though it's always refreshing to meet characters who are inherently human, with flaws that may even outnumber their positive qualities.

Rose, the eldest in the family, is controlling to a fault, a frequent accusation of oldest siblings (I'll remain silent on whether it's a true or false one). Bean, the middle daughter is constantly striving to be someone else--anything but ordinary--essentially afraid of who she really is and where she comes from. Cordy, the youngest, has never had to account for herself and runs from responsibility, avoiding the stigma of settling down, until her circumstances force her back to her small town roots. One of the things that initially drew me to the book was the Shakespeare connection: Dr. Andreas, the father of the trio, is a well known Professor of that immortal figure and has ensured Shakespeare's omnipresent status in his children's lives by gifting the sisters with given names from Shakespeare's works: Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia, heroines from As You Like It, The Taming of the Shrew, and King Lear. Personally I think the book jacket summary over-sells the girls' struggle with their literary namesakes, it might have been neat if there were more parallels between the novel and the three plays.

One other aspect of the book I found somewhat disappointing was the use of Shakespeare quotations. The opening of the novel gives the impression that the Andreas family's internal communication consists almost entirely of Shakespearean language, and while there is a smattering of couplets and iambic pentameter, I guess I was expecting much more integration of words of the Bard and the dialogue and narration of the story. Overall, I'm afraid The Weird Sisters didn't quite live up to my expectations, but that doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the book (I did.) or that I wouldn't recommend it to someone looking for a quick read with a cast of entertaining and truly interesting characters (I would.)

No comments:

Post a Comment