Angela Amman

Readers Will Love The Weird Sisters – A Book Review

I know she’s going to love The Weird Sisters one day
Lists passed back and forth between us, name books scoured, possibilities scrawled onto paper to be tentatively approved or slashed out of existence by the other.
Ryan and I had a difficult time choosing names, particularly with Dylan, making lists for both boys and girls and hoping we’d make an appropriate game-time decision when he was born.
If our little troublemaker would have been a girl, the name at the top of our list was Miranda, chosen because of my love for The Tempest and agreed to by Ryan despite his disdain for the Miranda character on Sex and the City (do you see why we had issues?)
In The Weird Sisters, Eleanor* Brown tells the story of three sisters, daughters of a Shakespeare scholar named for three of Shakespeare’s female characters (Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia), returning home to help their mother through a bout with cancer.
So many things about this book pulled me in from the beginning and sent me spiraling through its pages within two days, pulled into their lives both as women and as children of an academic in a small college town (which may or may not be one of my dream life scenarios). 
I pondered the way Brown portrayed the sister relationship, without the typical, tightly woven threads that wind through so many stories about sisters.
I immediately related to their penchant for books of any kind, picked up from various surfaces and read at whim.
I simultaneously loved and wanted to scream at each of the sisters in turn.  Character development is one of my favorite parts of a book, and Rosalind, Bean, and Cordy were endowed with some of the most beautifully realistic flaws and strengths I’ve read in a long time.
Another strength of the novel was the narrative voice.  Eleanor Brown expertly tells the story from the first person collective consciousness of the three sisters, using “we” and letting the reader truly delve into each of their stories, providing a balanced and rich perspective on the family.
At the heart of the book is a triangular coming-of-age tale, with each of the sisters finding her way through the mire of the expectations of her Shakespearean name, the expectations of her family, and the limitations bestowed upon herself.  It’s beautifully told without feeling contrived or forced, and my only problem with The Weird Sisters is I’m not sure to whom I should lend it first.
This week we’re discussing which of the sisters we’re most like.
I received a copy of The Weird Sisters for the purpose of this review, as well as compensation for my time, courtesy of BlogHer and Penguin Books.  The opinions expressed are thoroughly my own, including the one where I mention that whomever borrows this book needs to return it, because it will be one I pick up and read at random intervals.
*Eleanor was another name on our list for girls.  It’s my Nan’s name and just lovely.
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