Thursday, February 9, 2012

Book Review: The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

From the back of the book: Three sisters have returned to their childhood home, reuniting the eccentric Andreas family. Here, books are a passion (there is no problem a library card can't solve) and TV is something other people watch. Their father-a professor of Shakespeare who speaks almost exclusively in verse-named them after the Bard's heroines. It's a lot to live up to.

The sisters have a hard time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the shy homebody eldest sister, the fast-living middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Only that none has found life to be what was expected; and now, faced with their parents' frailty and their own personal disappointments, not even a book can solve what ails them...


The Weird Sisters has been on my "book radar" for quite some time. I mean, it's about a family who takes loving books to new heights, which is obviously right up my alley. In fact, I hopped on the wait-list for the Kindle version when it topped 100 people at my little local library. My name finally made it to the top of the list in December, and I eagerly began reading, only to discover that one of the major themes of the book was the sisters dealing with their mother's cancer diagnosis. Having just been diagnosed with skin cancer myself, I couldn't bring myself to read it--I thought there was a chance that the mother would end up dying over the course of the novel, and just COULD NOT handle that possibility at the time. 

However, by the time BlogHer Book Club began recruiting for The Weird Sisters this spring, I had been given a cancer-free bill of health, and it was a huge blessing to me to actually make it into the review pool--it felt like a little piece of redemption to be able to finish the book this time around (and get paid to do it!). 

This time, I flew through the book, devouring the interactions between the various characters. I found myself smiling and seeing a bit a lot of myself in the sisters who carry books with them wherever they go. I saw myself in Rose, the oldest sister who has taken it upon herself to make sure that everything in everyone's life runs smoothly, and who may micromanage others to divert from the fact that she's scared of change herself. 

In The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown created a world that I felt like I could disappear into, if only for half an hour at a time, which is something that doesn't happen all that often for me when it comes to fiction, but is always a joy when it does. That said, I didn't absolutely love the ending--one of my own particular quirks when it comes to reading fiction is that I often don't find the endings to be as flushed out as I'd like--sometimes I feel like I spend 300 or more pages getting to know these characters and their lives, and then the conclusion is hammered out in roughly 8 pages or less. The speed-conclusion phenomenon in The Weird Sisters definitely wasn't as bad or dramatic as some books I've read recently (*cough* Mockingjay *cough*), but I did find myself wishing that Brown had spent a bit more time bringing us to a conclusion. 

Overall? It's definitely worth a read, but the light conclusion kept it just short of being one of my favorites this year.
You can read a generous excerpt of The Weird Sisters over at BlogHer Book Club! Come on over and join the discussion! 

Disclosure Statement: This was a paid review as part of BlogHer Book Club--I received the book at no cost in order to review, and was also compensated for this review itself. That said, when it comes to books, you're always getting my real, honest opinion whether I'm being compensated or not.


  1. I've been hearing about this book but hadn't really looked into what it's about. Now that I know I think it's definitely going on my to-read list!

  2. There is so much inside of this book; a great story about family relationships and how they affect your life; a good story about coming home again; a little shakespeare thrown in for your literary pleasure and lastly - and most enjoyable to me - little nuggets of beautifully written passages that make you want to get out your highlighter and turn back the page so you will always know where to find them again.


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