The Weird Sisters: Can You Ever Get Along With Your Sister?
Eleanor Brown's The Weird Sisters is the story of three lost women. Rose, Bean and Cordy were named after Shakespearian characters and raised in a household where the Bard ruled all. They spend their lives attempting to both live up to and defy the roles that where laid out for them. As all three are pulled home by their mother's illness, they start to learn that sometimes you need to go home before you can move forward.
One of the first things you will notice when you read The Weird Sister is the narration. Brown wrote the book in the rarely used first person plural. Jeffrey Eugenides The Virgin Suicides is one of the only other novels that I am familiar with that has used this narration. It's an interesting choice and one that I think works well for the story. Instead of having three sisters each telling their version of the story individually, telling the story as a collective narrator allows you see multiple views at once instead of just one perspective. Additionally, while the whole world may be a stage and we're all merely players, we are also all by turns the audience. In The Weird Sisters, the Andreas sisters are absolutely the players, and the reader the audience. The narration really worked for me, though I do think that some readers will perhaps find it too distancing.
The Andreas sisters have lost their way. Rose, successful in many areas of life, is terrified to go forward. Home is the center of her world, and she honestly believes that it cannot function without her. That belief is holding her there and may result in her losing the man she loves as he's offered a fabulous opportunity in England. Bean, ever the middle child, measures her failures by her sisters' successes. It feels like she can never do anything first, and certainly can't do anything better, so she chooses to orchestrate her own failure by stealing money from her employer. Cordy is the youngest. She's the most loved by all and was never really given the opportunity to grow up. She spend the years since college travelling from place to place, a sort of modern hippie, when a positive pregnancy test changes everything and sends her home. The sisters are not close, and not inclined to tell each other their secrets. They attempt to keep things to themselves but bit by bit they reveal themselves and find that yes, they can get along and support one another.
The novel is a delight for book lovers. Everyone in the family is a capricious reader. From the belief that a library card is the solution to most of your problems to the way that no one in the family can quite seem to get through the classics, there's a lot for a reader to love in The Weird Sister. A bonus for Shakespeare fans are the bits of verse that are dropped into the conversations between the characters. Voracious readers will find much that speaks to them in Brown's writing.