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by Eleanor Brown

Unwillingly brought together to care for their ailing mother, three sisters who were named after famous Shakespearean characters discover that everything they have been avoiding may prove more worthwhile than expected. A first novel. (general fiction).
Download The Weird Sisters (Thorndike Press Large Print Basic Series) epub
ISBN: 1410437051
ISBN13: 978-1410437051
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Women's Fiction
Author: Eleanor Brown
Language: English
Publisher: Thorndike Press; Large Print edition (May 4, 2011)
Pages: 550 pages
ePUB size: 1388 kb
FB2 size: 1351 kb
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 198
Other Formats: mbr doc docx azw

I really enjoyed this story of three sisters, but the unusual voice of the story interfered with my ability to sink in and enjoy it. While most of the story is told in a standard third-person voice, commentary throughout is in first person plural (we). It was meaningful in showing the intertwined lives of the sisters, but it took a few chapters for me to figure out there was no fourth sister serving as the narrator, and then it continued to jar me out of the story each time it happened. I was also jarred by the math that put the parents of these sisters as only in their mid-fifties, because the father in particular was portrayed as traditional and aging in a way I picture as late sixties. It wasn’t unrealistic, but another jarring moment when the age became clear halfway through the book. And lastly, while the lack of television was explained, I found the lack of computers and cell phones another jarring thing - something easily solved by imagining the story set in the 90’s instead of the publication year of 2011. If those things don’t seem jarring to you, then by all means, enjoy this sweet story.
I gave this book 4 stars, despite that it is occasionally annoyingly pedestrian, occasionally overwritten, and occasionally contrived. That said, it is highly engaging, at times insightful, and intriguing in its many quotes from Shakespeare in service of the story. The weird sisters aren't that, but rather wyrd sisters, "wyrd" meaning fate to Shakespeare. Fate, Shakespeare, and the effect of sibling order (oldest, middle, youngest) are major themes in the story. Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) are the daughters of a Shakespearean scholar at a prestigious Ohio university in a small town and his wife, their mother, who remains oddly nameless throughout (or did I just miss it?), and who is combating breast cancer. The girls, all adults still struggling toward maturity, each confront their lives and their angst in their own way. What is frustrating about this book is that it could have been so much better. Brown is a skilled storyteller who allowed herself to lapse into mundane writing in some passages.
It took me some time to get into this book. Found it slow at the beginning and difficult to relate to the sisters, who, like all siblings, are vastly different and simultaneously incredibly alike. This was a "slice of life" story with no real suspense or question of outcome. You can readily guess all that happens in the plot, and I use that term loosely. However, it ultimately became a pleasure to read because of the dialogue between the sisters and their parents. I am a big fan of good dialogue, and this book was a treasure trove of verbal interaction and jousting that was so very real and spot on. It was not a page-turner that I couldn't put down, but every time I picked it up, it was like visiting with good friends where I became involved and entertained by their stories. Even all the Shakespearean quotes (their father was a professor and devotee of the bard) were delightful injections. They were sometimes understandable immediately and were, at other times, vague and confusing and puzzling to the particular sister who was the recipient. The book was filled with morals, morality, lack there of, and life lessons - most of which revolve around wanting what you don't have, regardless whether it is good for you, and courage to move out of your comfort zones and live a full life even if it's a life you never imagined for yourself. The writing was spectacular, except on one point which bothered me significantly for a time (the reason I didn't give it a five star review). The book was not written in first person, nor second, nor (exactly) third person. Throughout the first half of the book, there seemed to be some mysterious 'narrator' who would seem to be another sibling. For a time I suspected the sisters had a brother somewhere metaphorically off-stage, but then there was a phrase which indicated this mystery person was female. Then I wondered for a time if there was another sister hiding somewhere. Eventually this ceased and third person became the status quo. I don't know if the author did this intentionally or in error, but it confounded the heck out of me for awhile. If you read the book, which I do recommend, ignore this, as I discovered it meant nothing, and eventually disappeared from the novel. The title comes from Macbeth - mentioned at the beginning: "I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters". I like that.
This is a fantastic debut novel that examines the love and conflicts among three sisters, Rose, Bean, and Cordelia, each of whom is facing the challenges associated with finally growing up as they reach their late twenties and early thirties.

All three sisters gather together in their small college hometown when their mother has a health crisis. Rose is the steady, solid eldest sister; Bean is the chic big-city middle sister, and Cordelia is the flighty baby of the family. Although these seem to be perhaps near-stereotypical roles, Brown writes with such flair as to give each sister some esoteric uniqueness. The story does not fall prey to predictability as each of the sisters faces her biggest fears and has to decide whether she has the courage to tackle them head-on. The narration of the story is unique in that it is done by a composite of all three sisters speaking as one voice.

The weakness of this book is that all of these sisters have issues, as all human beings do, but Brown seems perhaps too eager to focus on the genesis of these problems as they relate to being sisters. What is only mentioned in passing is the role of their parents in developing the traits of each of these women; their father, for example, has a lot to answer for. Instead of probing this more deeply he is portrayed more as a harmless eccentric.

Despite this minor flaw, this is altogether a lovely read, and I recommend it highly.