Book Review: The Weird Sisters

Note: I was compensated for this BlogHer Book Club review, but all opinions expressed are my own.

If you’re not a girl with a sister, you might not understand the relationships in The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown.

There are a lot of books about brothers. Brothers solving mysteries together. Brothers soldiering through wars. Brothers rescuing brothers. There are fewer literary examples of sisters.

You might say, “Little Women!” And I say, “Please.” Because little women was a family of girls. I’m talking about the relationships between sisters. And yes, there is a difference.

Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) are three sisters who live in what, at times, appears to be the kind of world you can only find in a novel. Small-town bred by a dreamy mother and a Shakespeare-obsessed father (thus the names), they each spiraled away from each other in an attempt to find their place in the world, only to be thrown back together by their own failures. At first, I admit, the whimsical way they seem to speak and see each other was a bit grating — does anyone actually talk/live like this? But as the book goes on, the characters become sharper, more real. And you learn that given their upbringing, it’s really more of a fantasy to think they could have turned out any differently.

In the end, though, it was the ties between the sisters that resonated with me (which was the point). As one half of a rather dynamic sisterhood myself, I share the sisters’ complaint early in the novel:

We see stories in magazines or newspapers sometimes, or read novels, about the deep and loving relationships between sisters. Sisters are supposed to be tight and connected, sharing family history and lore, laughing over misadventures. But we are not that way. We never have been, really, because even our partnering was more for spite than for love. Who are these sisters who act like this, who treat each other as their best friends? We have never met them. We know plenty of sisters who get along well, certainly, but wherefore the myth?

What I liked about this book — really liked about it — was the honest assessment of the competitiveness that comes with being sisters. I’m not sure brothers have this emotion. Whereas brothers tend to band together, sisters learn to define themselves by whatever their sisters are not. In the case of our weird sisters, Rose is the practical, responsible, achieving one; Bean is the pretty, boy-drawing one; Cordy is the rambling, undependable-but-loveable one. The sisters start to lose themselves in these identities to the point where they feel there can’t possibly be two smart ones. Two attractive ones. Two capable ones. Let alone three brave ones.

Sometimes, they are cruel to each other. At others, they are unbelievably gentle. But to be perfectly honest, I’ve never met sisters who didn’t behave that way.

Over all, I recommend the book. It has a sort of lilting cadence to it (which I have to imagine was inspired by the idea of iambic pentameter) that’s soothing to read, and though things manage to tie themselves up into an almost too-perfect bow in the end (heck, according to Shakespeare the only other option would be tragedy, in which everyone would have to die), it doesn’t discredit the rest of the story.

Has anyone else read this one? I’m sure I’m forgetting some other book about sisters (ahem)…anyone care to remind me? And if you want to read more reviews, check out these other responses from the BlogHer Book Club and join the conversation!

My new friend Sofiie

It should surprise no one that I like giving my opinion on things.

In fact, that’s a quality that I notice in most of the people I choose as friends. (You already knew I don’t trust people without some kind of opinion.)

Honestly, I think especially with how easy it is to express your opinion nowadays (what with status updates, tweeting, blogging, etc.), it’s a little surprising that there are still so many companies and commercials out there that seem to have zero idea what women (and, well, anyone) really want.

Which is why I’m so excited to be a newly minted affiliate of Sofiie.com.

Sofiie is an online network that acts as a liaison between women consumers and the companies looking to reach them. Here’s how it works:

Companies want to know what women want. (Hey, it’s the age-old question, right?) Rather than just blindly guessing, affiliates of Sofiie can post questions on the site to get answers and engage discussions. The mission of Sofiie is to “understand women’s decision-making processes and fuel the growth of brands through sharing opinions, forming insights and improving experiences.”

The best part? They want to give you fabulous prizes — just for sharing your opinion! Every question you answer enters you in a weekly drawing for gift certificates and prize packages from places like Target, Starbucks, and Aveda. (It’s like they know what we like, right?) It’s seriously that simple — answer questions; get entered to win prizes. Boom.

And if I can get serious with you for a second, the prizes are great, but the truly awesome part about this idea is that it actually gives you a voice. And who doesn’t want that? (Yeah, ok, and the prizes are still pretty cool.)

Interested in signing up? Click here to register.

Then be sure to check out Sofiie’s shout out to Stop Me if You’ve Heard This One here.