Book Review: The Weird Sisters – Eleanor Brown

Title: The Weird Sisters
Author: Eleanor Brown
ISBN: 9780399157226
Pages: 336
Release Date: January 20, 2011
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books
Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Source: Publisher
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary:

The Andreas girls are finally coming home.  Rose (named after Rosalind) lives near her parents and sees them regularly, but Bean (short for Bianca) has been living the high life in New York City.  When everything comes crashing down around her, Bean limps back home to lick her wounds and reassess her life.  Then there’s Cordelia, the baby.  After she receives some shocking news, she decides it’s time for her to return home and figure out her next step.  These three “weird” sisters return back home to their father and his love of Shakespeare in order to care for their mother while she undergoes treatment for cancer. 

Review:

I had extremely high hopes coming into The Weird Sisters.  I thought the premise sounded great, as I love books about sisters, and on top of that, it’s an Amy Einhorn novel.  I’ve learned that Amy Einhorn usually means high quality, fun, and incredibly readable books.  It’s a difficult expectation to live up to, yet Eleanor Brown’s The Weird Sisters actually surprised me with how heartfelt, entertaining, and intelligent it was.

The Weird Sisters centers around the works of William Shakespeare.  The sisters’ father is one of the leading Shakespeare professors and scholars, and as a result they were raised on the words of the Bard.  Indeed, their father continues to communicate with them through lines from Shakespeare’s plays, and they must struggle to decipher his meaning.  Additionally, all three women are readers and are very proud of that fact.  As a result, this book is really smart.  In some ways, it’s a love story to reading and to the power it can have over all our lives.  As an avid reader, I adored this aspect of the novel and loved how seamlessly Brown wove it into the narrative.

It’s very difficult to pick my favorite sister – Rose, Bean, or Cordy – and that’s saying something.  Usually, in books with multiple main characters, it’s hard to make all of your protagonists appealing while still being honest about their faults and darker sides.  I couldn’t believe how much I cared about these women, how invested I was in their lives.  Even Bean, who is very self-destrucive, captured my heart.  While her antics might have been frustrating in a less fully realized character, they were a part of Bean.  I had no trouble seeing that and rooting for her from beginning to end.  I really respect Eleanor Brown for her ability to develop such true, three-dimensional women.  It astonishes me that this is her first novel because she has the finely honed skills of someone with much more experience under their belt. 

I don’t usually talk about literary devices in my reviews, but I can’t help but mention one thing that really jumped out at me – the narrator.  The novel is told in first person omniscient – that is, the narrator knew what was happening individually in Bean, Cordy, and Rose’s minds.  At the same time, though, none of these individual women were the narrator.  However, the narrator referred to “we,” meaning the three sisters.  It’s as if the sisters somehow made one whole, and it was that single entity, a part of each woman, that was narrating the story.  It was so interesting and I really loved how it created intimacy between the three sisters, making it clear that the reader was outside their unique bond.

I absolutely loved The Weird Sisters for so many reasons – the great writing, the sheer intelligence of the book, the true portrayal of what it means to be a sister.  This is a book that isn’t about genres.  Instead, it’s about relationships, about sisters, about books that stir the soul, and about love and loyalty, a must-read that I can’t recommend highly enough.

Affiliate Links:

Buy this book from Powell’s Books
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Buy this book from your local Indiebound bookstore

Comments

  1. Wow! High praise indeed! I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and now know that I need to track down a copy.

  2. Wow! High praise indeed! I’ve had my eye on this one for a while and now know that I need to track down a copy.

  3. I am glad to read this book is so good. It’s on my wishlist – really looking forward to reading it.

  4. I am glad to read this book is so good. It’s on my wishlist – really looking forward to reading it.

  5. Awesome review. You touched on some of my very favorite aspects of the book. There is so much to love about the book and I’m fascinated to see what parts readers zeroed in on.

  6. Awesome review. You touched on some of my very favorite aspects of the book. There is so much to love about the book and I’m fascinated to see what parts readers zeroed in on.

  7. I’ve found first person omniscient to be a powerful point of view when it’s done well. This book sounds so good!!

  8. I’ve found first person omniscient to be a powerful point of view when it’s done well. This book sounds so good!!

  9. Every review I have read of this book has just been positively glowing, and though I hadn’t really been that interested in it before, I am now. I am so glad to see that you really connected with the story and the characters. I bet this is a book I would love, so it’s going on my list!

  10. Every review I have read of this book has just been positively glowing, and though I hadn’t really been that interested in it before, I am now. I am so glad to see that you really connected with the story and the characters. I bet this is a book I would love, so it’s going on my list!

  11. So glad you and all of my favorite bloggers are LOVING this book so much!!!

  12. So glad you and all of my favorite bloggers are LOVING this book so much!!!

  13. I love how you described things in a book that I think I will have missed or not have thought through like you do.

    eg – the point of view

  14. I love how you described things in a book that I think I will have missed or not have thought through like you do.

    eg – the point of view

  15. You all plan this, don’t you? You gang up on us and make a book impossible to resist. Well, despite the Dare, I still am allowed to listen to any audiobooks, and I just ordered it from the library. Woo hoo!

  16. You all plan this, don’t you? You gang up on us and make a book impossible to resist. Well, despite the Dare, I still am allowed to listen to any audiobooks, and I just ordered it from the library. Woo hoo!

  17. I have high hopes for this one too, so I’m glad to hear I’m in for a treat (whenever it’s my turn at the library!)

  18. I have high hopes for this one too, so I’m glad to hear I’m in for a treat (whenever it’s my turn at the library!)

  19. Woo! Moving this one up much higher in my TBR stack. Sounds amazing.

  20. Woo! Moving this one up much higher in my TBR stack. Sounds amazing.

  21. I really want to read this book after your review–I am one of three sisters and we are extremely close. Three sisters and Shakespeare, sounds like a lot of fun!

  22. I really want to read this book after your review–I am one of three sisters and we are extremely close. Three sisters and Shakespeare, sounds like a lot of fun!

  23. Thanks for a wonderful review. The book is new to me and I do hope I can track it down.

  24. Thanks for a wonderful review. The book is new to me and I do hope I can track it down.

  25. An intelligent book about sisters…this will be my next read. I have 4 sisters and a dad who tried to drill physics concepts into our brains so I am sure there will be a lot I will be able to identify with in this book.

    I am so excited! Thanks for your review!

  26. An intelligent book about sisters…this will be my next read. I have 4 sisters and a dad who tried to drill physics concepts into our brains so I am sure there will be a lot I will be able to identify with in this book.

    I am so excited! Thanks for your review!

  27. I’m forcing myself to wait to buy it. I need to read a few review books and then it’ll be my reward. Can’t wait to read it!!

  28. I’m forcing myself to wait to buy it. I need to read a few review books and then it’ll be my reward. Can’t wait to read it!!

Leave a Reply

Comment Policy:  I welcome comments and read each one I receive. If your comment needs a response, I will provide it in a timely manner, as I read every comment I receive. Please keep your comments civil and polite! I reserve the right to delete any comments that are rude or inappropriate. Because of spam, I have to moderate comments on old posts. Please be patient - I will approve your comment quickly.

Before the tag in the Genesis footer: !-- Quantcast Tag -->