Thursday, April 14, 2011
[Book Review] THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown
Andrea reviews THE WEIRD SISTERS by Eleanor Brown (Amy Einhorn Books/G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2011)
This is not a novel of sentimentality and sap. In fact, the cover reads “See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.”
These three sisters are the daughters of a small town college's Shakespeare professor and his wife. Apparently overzealous in his expertise, Dr. Andreas decided each daughter needed to be named after a Shakespearean heroine. Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia are grateful for their names because their father’s colleague, a Classics professor, named his daughter Lysistrata, nicknamed Lyssie!
Dr. Andreas has written each daughter a letter stating, “Come, let us go; and pray to all gods/for our beloved mother in her pains.” As obscure as this message is, each sister realizes it’s time to come home, since their mother has cancer.
Rose, the oldest and dutiful daughter, has decided to put her wedding plans on hold and move back home to take care of her mother. Bean, the flirtatious middle daughter, has gotten fired from her job in New York and decides to return to her small town home as a way of escaping legal and financial issues. Cordy, the spoiled youngest, arrives home to Barnwell last, after indulging in a hippie lifestyle.
Being their father’s daughters, the three spout Shakespearean phrases when conversing or arguing with each other. The liberal sprinkling of such phrases and quotations actually works well, but it also takes some getting used to when reading the book. This novel also took some getting used to based on the fact that the three sisters speak as a single point of view. The pronouns “we” and “us” are most commonly used.
This is a solid, charming, well-written story by Eleanor Brown, who can boast of having her Master’s Degree in Literature. Using the single point of view works well because the sisters can talk about themselves or each other freely and equally. Although the sisters start out at odds with each other and themselves, it was refreshing to see all of them end in peace.
Andrea King, Poplar-White Station Library