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The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown
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The Weird Sisters (original 2011; edition 2011)

by Eleanor Brown

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1,513None4,862 (3.6)100
Member:ksionzi17
Title:The Weird Sisters
Authors:Eleanor Brown
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2011), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
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The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (2011)

  1. 10
    Sisters by Danielle Steel (Anonymous user)
    Anonymous user: Similar story line - 3 sisters who come home to deal with a family crisis and end up facing their own demons.
  2. 00
    The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice (Cecilturtle)
  3. 11
    Juliet by Anne Fortier (elbakerone)
    elbakerone: Both books center on heroines named after Shakespearean characters and deal with the theme of a destiny or personality based on their literary counterparts.
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English (163)  Dutch (1)  All languages (164)
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. I am the oldest of three sisters, and although we are not much like Rose, Bean, and Cordy, Brown perfectly captures the love-hate relationship of sisters, and really, of family members: you love them no matter how much you don't. I thought the Shakespeare quotes were used well- even someone who isn't a student of the Bard can follow the character's intent in using them. I did not like the ending as much as I liked the rest of the book. It wasn't as powerful. In the rest of the book, as well as in real life, things don't tend to wrap themselves up quite so neatly. Really, though, that's nitpicking. It's a great read. ( )
  psychedelicmicrobus | Feb 20, 2014 |
The Weird Sisters first struck me due to its odd first person plural narrative. It's a unique point of view, so the book has that going for it. The storyline is about the tale of three sisters, all completely different of course, who use their mother's illness as an excuse to move back home, all the while being absorbed in their own personal dramas. Their father is a professor and Shakespeare expert, and the whole family spontaneously bursts into Shakespearean quotes throughout the book, which was another plus for the novel.

After that, the book was just "okay". It was a bit cliché and predictable. Parts of the storyline were a bit worldly -- I would have trouble recommending it to my grandma or daughter. But, it did hold my attention and the characters were like-able, even with their fallibility. I did enjoy the whole book-loving crew. 3 of 5 stars. ( )
  lauraodom | Feb 17, 2014 |
I loved The Weird Sisters. Brown takes her time, gives us the details, lets us in to each woman's mind, their hopes, faults, insecurities and powers.

I would have given the book five stars if not for the first person plural narration. I'm not sure what would have worked better--perhaps changing narrators from chapter to chapter--but unfortunately, the narration distracted me from the story. Fortunately, Brown used it sparingly so that didn't happen too often.

Eleanor Brown's prose is gorgeous. I can't wait to read the next thing she writes.

Petrea Burchard
Camelot & Vine ( )
  PetreaBurchard | Feb 9, 2014 |
Contemporary family drama is not often my first choice of genre, but I loved The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown. This novel is about three sisters who at around age 30 all end up back at their parents' house in a small college town when their mother is diagnosed with cancer. They each come back with secrets and pain and the novel tells the story of how they face those things. But this description of the plot-line doesn't do the book justice: the writing is what makes it top-notch instead of just your average family drama. The story is told in the first person plural (i.e. "we"), from the perspective of all three of the sisters. This is an usual perspective and I can only imagine must be tricky to get right, but it is very effective. Additionally, the author clearly must be an astute observer of people, because she describes their movements and actions so well. I could really picture all of the characters as live people and each was so distinct. Another reason I enjoyed the book so much is that the author managed to transcend the particulars of the characters' personalities and behaviors to convey some underlying common human experiences. I am do not have much in common with the three sisters (other than age), but I still felt as if I could relate to them in some way. Finally, the sisters are from a family of readers (their father is a Shakespearean scholar) and I loved all the references to the way in which reading was simply a way of life for them. In case you can't tell by now, I highly recommend The Weird Sisters! ( )
  sbsolter | Feb 6, 2014 |
Totally different way of writing about three sisters but thoroughly enjoyable. The quotes added a new dimension. Well worth the read. ( )
  joannemonck | Jan 29, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 163 (next | show all)
"Indeed, The Weird Sisters is a book worth celebrating. Because their father is a renowned Shakespearean scholar, the Andreas family communicates largely through the words of the Bard. It is not unusual for them to drop Shakespearean quotes into a conversation about, say, wedding rings or what to eat for breakfast."
added by clamairy | editBookPage, Amy Scribner (Mar 2, 2011)
 
There are times when the sisters are exasperated by the burden imposed on them. “Sometimes we had the overwhelming urge to grab our father by the shoulders and shake him until the meaning of his obtuse quotations fell from his mouth like loosened teeth,” they say. Readers may sometimes feel similarly about Ms. Brown but more often appreciate the good sense and good humor that keep her story buoyant. She does have storytelling talent. Or, to quote one of the Weird Sisters quoting you-know-who: “This is a gift that I have; simple, simple.”
 
Eleanor Brown's likable debut novel is the story of three grown sisters who return home when their mother falls ill.....The first third of the book moves slowly, with too much explanation of who the sisters are, and too much insistence on how different each is from the other, and a sort of bulky setting-up of their rather implausible situations, and -- enough, already! Get the story moving! And when it does start moving, it is a delight.

 
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Epigraph
But we only called the fire brigade, and soon the fire engine came and three tall men in helmets brought a hose into the house and Mr. Prothero got out just in time before they turned it on. Nobody could have had a noisier Christmas Eve. And when the firemen turned off the hose and were standing in the wet, smoky room, Jim's Aunt, Miss Prothero, came downstairs and peered in at them. Jim and I waited, very quietly, to hear what she would say to them. She said the right thing, always. She looked at the three tall firemen in their shining helmets, standing among the smoke and cinders and dissolving snowballs, and she said, "Would you like anything to read?" -- Dylan Thomas, A Child's Christmas In Wales
I dreamt last night of the three weird sisters. -- William Shakespeare, Macbeth
Dedication
To Chris, For springtime, for a rock-and-roll show, forever
First words
We came home because we were failures.
Quotations
She never managed to find herself in these books no matter how she tried, exhuming traits from between the pages and donning them for an hour, a day, a week. We think, in some ways, we have all done this our whole lives, searching for the book that will give us the keys to ourselves, let us into a wholly formed personality as though it were a furnished room to let. As though we could walk in and look around and say to the gray-haired landlady behind us, "We'll take it."
We were fairly certain that if anyone made public the various and variegated ways in which being an adult sucked eggs, more people might opt out entirely.
She narrowed her eyes and considered the array of potential answers in front of her. Because I don't spend hours flippping through cable complaining there's nothing on? Because my entire Sunday is not eaten up with pre-game, in-game, and post-game talking heads? Because I do not spend every night drinking overpriced beer and engaging dick-swinging contests with the other financirati? Because when I am waiting in line, at the gym, on the train, eating lunch, I am not complaining about the wait/staring into space/admiring myself in available reflective surfaces? I am reading!
What if the name you were given had already been lived in?
He was not a reader. And that was the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Book description
Unlucky in work, love, and life, the Andreas sisters return to their childhood home. Each has a secret she's unwilling to share — each has come home to lick her own wounds.

The Andreas family is an eccentric one. Books are their passion (There is no problem a library card can't solve), TV something other families watched. Their father — a renowned professor of Shakespeare who communicates almost exclusively in verse — named all three girls for great Shakespearean women — Rose (Rosalind), Bean (Bianca), and Cordy (Cordelia) — as a result, the sisters find that they have a lot to live up to.

With this burden, the Andreas sisters have a difficult time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another.

What can the homebody and shy eldest sister, the fast-living and mysterious middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Why can't Rose leave her hometown for the man she loves? Why has glamorous Bean come home from New York City with her tail between her legs, to the small college town she swore she'd leave as soon as she could? And why has Cordy suddenly resurfaced after years of gypsy living? Each sister has found her life nothing like she had thought it would be — and now, as they are faced with their parents' frailty and their own disappointments and setbacks, their usual quick salve of a book can't solve what ails them.

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Unwillingly brought together to care for their ailing mother, three sisters who were named after famous Shakespearean characters discover that everything they have been avoiding may prove more worthwhile than expected.

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