Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Review: "The Weird Sisters" by Eleanor Brown

Every so often a book comes along that, well, just blows my mind. Occasionally, very occasionally, this book also happens to be a debut author's book. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown is this book. I devoured it in a matter of days and I guarantee that it will be one of those rare books that I'll re-read many times in the future.

The Weird Sisters tells the story of the three Andreas sisters, Rose (Rosalie), Bean (Bianca), and Cordy (Cordelia). The three women have taken very different paths in their lives but manage to end up living in their childhood home at the same time. Their official reason for moving home is that their mother has breast cancer and is going through radiation, chemotherapy, and surgery, but underneath that official reason are their true reasons for coming home. Rose has never really left home, despite the fact that her gentle and patient fiance is living in England at the moment and wishes that she would join him. She's paralyzed by the uncertainty of living so far from home and from the familiar. Bean has left her job in New York in disgrace. After her boss discovered that she was stealing money from the company he fired her and suggested that she return home to get her life together. Cordy, the youngest child and the one that everyone always looks after, has a secret and suddenly the gypsy life that she's led up until this point in her life doesn't seem so appealing.

Rose, Bean, and Cordy are each going to have to face their demons, but they won't be facing them alone. They'll have their distant yet loving mother, their father with his obsession with Shakespeare, and the members of the small community that they once all called home to help them along.

There are so many reasons that I loved this book. I loved that the sisters loved each other but didn't necessarily like each other. Their relationship with each other felt realistic instead of idyllic, and somehow they managed to make their unique dynamics work. The lines of Shakespeare scattered throughout the book added this great literary element to the plot, yet those who aren't up to date on their Bard will still easily be able to understand what the point of the interjected phrases are. The supporting characters were lively and lovable, and I appreciated the fact that although their mother had cancer, that wasn't the focus of the entire book, but rather the common thread that bound them all together. I loved that Rose, Bean, and Cordy's parents were still in love with each other. That love and dedication shone through.

And the words, oh the beautiful words. I wanted to say them aloud, just to feel them on my tongue. I wanted to roll them around my mouth. Just when I thought that I had found a favourite phrase, I turned the page and found another one to love. I originally wanted to cite examples of my favourites in this post, but there are just too many to choose from.

The Weird Sisters is a reflection of the relationship between a trio of sisters, all unsure about each other and about themselves. It has it all: humour, touching moments, a compelling plot, beautifully assembled phrases, and the most unique narrative voice that I've read in a long time. I urge you to pick up a copy to experience it for yourselves.

Rating: 5 stars out of 5
Challenges: 2011 100+ Reading Challenge, 2011 RYOB Challenge


  1. Everyone is loving this; I wish I received that one -- I imagine our library might have it? Nice review.

  2. I'm so glad to hear you loved this. It's on my reading challenge list.

  3. Oh, I'm so excited to read this one! Your review is the cherry on the sundae for me. It sounds so fantastic!

  4. Your review makes me want to read this book! Don't you just love it when a debut author writes such a wonderful book?

  5. A friend of mine just recommended this book, I'll add it to my list :)

    Lauren from ChickAdvisor

  6. I did no work at my desk for nearly 2 hours with this book. It nearly got me the sack.