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by Patricia J. DeLois

Janet has always wanted a sister, and she believes her prayers have been answered when she meets Sophie. It is only after 30 years of friendship that Janet discovers that sisterhood doesn't mean the same thing to Sophie that it means to her. British Arts Council Book of the Year Award Winner 2007.
Download Bufflehead Sisters epub
ISBN: 0955650097
ISBN13: 978-0955650093
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Women's Fiction
Author: Patricia J. DeLois
Language: English
Publisher: YouWriteOn; 1st edition (August 10, 2007)
Pages: 300 pages
ePUB size: 1898 kb
FB2 size: 1229 kb
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 549
Other Formats: lit docx lrf azw

elegant stranger
Of the two sisters of the title, Janet is the narrator. Here's how she meets the othere "bufflehead," Sophie.

A kindergarten teacher has singled Sophie out for criticism. She makes Sophie stand as she scolds her. DeLois writes: "I stole at glance at Sophie expecting to see my own mortification reflected there. But Sophie looked entirely unperturbed as she gazed around the classroom with her hands in her pockets, like someone who had just stopped by to see what a kindergarten class looked like."

DeLois is a great story-teller, and this is a fascinating tale to tell. When the two girls get to junior high, Sophie's strange abilities come more into the story. It seems she can do things like tell fortunes and turn evil back on those from whom it's coming.

It makes for one of the best coming of age stories since Holden Caufield rode that taxi through Central Park wondering where all the ducks went in winter.

But Sophie and Janet are not goodie-two-shoes. When they get to high school, sex and drugs come into the story. And Sophie's approach to things is, as always, a little different. For example, sometimes when when one of her father's girlfriends is spending the night, she borrows the car keys and goes for a drive.

DeLois writes about it:

"One night she was driving some woman's car when a policeman signaled her to pull over. She toyed with the idea of outrunning him, she told me, but she wasn't that good with the stock shift yet, and she was just stoned enough to be mesmerized by the flashing blue lights, so she stopped.
The cop asked to see her license, and she was forced to admit that she didn't have one. He asked who car she was driving, and she explained that she didn't exactly know, she had found it in her driveway. He asked for her name, and she clammed up.
As he crouched down to speak to her at eye level, she had a strange sense of deja vu, and in the middle of his speech about how much trouble she was in, she interrupted.
"I know you. You shot my mother."

That shut up the cop, because it turns out he did.

There's bound to me more "Sophie" books in the future, and when there are, you'll be glad you read this one.

It's a great read.
Janet lives an ordinary life with an ordinary family, growing up against a backdrop of the Vietnam War and the growth of the drug culture. Her parents struggle for a balance between compassion and control and Janet yearns for a sister, a Thelma for her Louise. Then Sophie enters her life. DeLois has Janet describe Sophie as follows: "Her hair was a nest of blond curls that made me think of Goldilocks, and there was a smug look about her mouth that suggested she might have already helped herself to someone's porridge and found it just right."

DeLois writes with a magic wand. "One day in late winter, Sophie suggested we dig our way to another country. Not China, she said--they would look for us there. We would dig a hole halfway to China, and then we would veer off toward Amsterdam."

DeLois enters the world of two children and shows the reader both how Sophie viewed her dysfunctional family and how Janet viewed her own parents as well as her relationship with the Sophie. The author is as adept at showing the child's view as she is the adolescent view. The imagery she creates is so realistic you'll think you're back in your high school lunchroom, hoping against hope a certain boy will sit with you.

A coming of age story, a book about heartbreak and the ways women and men struggle with their wounds, and a tale of everyday lives, Bufflehead Sisters is all that. You may see yourself in the pages.

There's something special about Sophie. Every one who meets her thinks so. This reader agrees.
The book Bufflehead Sisters is one in which a child in crisis, Sophie, is taken in by her friend, Janet, and Janet's family. The two girls meet in kindergarten. Sophie is a strong, vibrant presence, even at five. The events of her childhood will shape the woman she is to become. Janet`s parents, are welcoming to Sophie at first, when she is simply Janet`s friend. But eventually, serious events in Sophie's home compel John to want to bring her into their home, as a semi-permanent member of the family. It is suggested that he was not satisfied with having only one child, and so Sophie becomes a surrogate in that sense. Janet's mother, is always trying to bring Sophie to heel. She tries to enforce appropriate manners at the dinner table, wants Sophie to wear shoes, and take baths. Sophie, who appears to be mildly psychic, passively resists all endeavors to change her behavior, whether in school or at home.
This continues as she and Janet grow up. Janet is the good student, the well-behaved child, the conventional daughter. Sophie does go back to live in her father's house, although he is rarely home. Her lack of direct parental authority contributes to her free-spirited attitude and subsequently, Sophie loses direction in her life.
I felt the characters were very one-sided. Janet is the quintessential early sixties daughter, always doing what she's told. Janet is a "good girl". Sophie is a "bad girl". She was drawn that way as a child, bucking authority in school and with Janet's parents, and it continued into her teenage years. She sleeps around, gets into drugs and generally is an outcast, while somehow still being part of the crowd.
As this story warmed up past the introduction of the characters and the girls' lives, it became clear that there was a "big secret" in the story. Unfortunately, the author does not do a very good job of hiding it. I was aware very quickly what the "big secret" was going to be, even before it happened, and it was intended that the audience not know what it was. The author even planted a few seeds early on, a sort of foreshadowing that wasn't at all subtle, and it was clear exactly what took place.
In some ways, I was reminded of The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry. Towner Whitney, the main character in that story, has flaws similar to Sophie's. But The Lace Reader is a well-crafted tale, more so than Bufflehead Sisters. That story, too, contains a "big secret", but was completely surprised when I figured it out, unlike this tale.
While Patricia Delois's writing style is fine, even lovely in parts, I was not overly impressed with the story.
Arabella V.
The book Bufflehead Sisters was an easy and enjoyable read. The story was entertaining and provided a feeling of suspense with particular characters within the story. I would recommend to anyone who is looking for an easy summer read or anyone who has grown up with a best friend or friendship.