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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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1,8871973,639 (3.54)113
Member:ksionzi17
Title:The Weird Sisters
Authors:Eleanor Brown
Info:Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam (2011), Hardcover, 336 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***
Tags:None

Work details

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (2011)

  1. 00
    The Silver Boat by Luanne Rice (Cecilturtle)
  2. 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.
  3. 11
    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.
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Showing 1-5 of 196 (next | show all)
The first-person plural narration might have been my favorite part of this novel. It was perfectly done and quite impressive, if you ask me.

Why did I pick this book up in the first place? The quote on the cover made me do it: “See, we love each other. We just don't like each other very much.” That pretty much sums up my relationship with my sister.

Plus, the family communicates through Shakespeare quotes. The book was just too intriguing to pass up, and Brown didn't let me down. Smart and yet funny, touching and still sarcastic ... I really enjoyed reading this one. ( )
  imahorcrux | Jun 22, 2016 |
The Weird Sisters tells the story of the three Andreas sisters who return home to Barnwell, Ohio to take care of their mother, who has been diagnosed with cancer. Each of the girls has failed in her own way and needs the safety net of home, with their eccentric, Shakespeare-quoting father, and each other, to figure out what to do next. The three sisters have been named after some of Shakespeare's most popular characters. Rosalind (Rose), Bianca (Bean), and Cordelia (Cordy) are now living together for the first time in years and they also get a chance to help one another cope with the failures in their lives, including theft, adultery, and pregnancy. I thought the author did a great job of making me care about the characters, which I really didn't expect. There are many quotes and allusions to Shakespeare, some which I got and some I didn't. There's something about each of the sisters that you can identify with. I so identified with Bean when she explained that she always carried a book so that when she's in a waiting room she can just pull out her book and start reading. I think you will enjoy the book even more if you are knowledgeable about Shakespearean plays, but it won't detract from the story if you're not. The humor, intriguing story line, and funny incidents kept me involved till the very last page. " ( )
  Olivermagnus | Jun 16, 2016 |
3.5 stars

Not really sure how I feel about this one.

The writing is good, the story holds together well, and the characters are well-drawn, so I don't feel justified in giving it any less than 3 stars.
And I could see myself in two of the three sisters, and I cared about what happened to them, so I bumped it up a bit.

But as a whole, it didn't shake up my life much. Perhaps this was a challenge for me because I have no sisters but 3 brothers. Having watched my mom & her two sisters my whole life, I've always felt like an outsider with female families, mine & others. Perhaps the author's use of first person plural narration was too distracting. I was intrigued at first. But it got cumbersome at times, & either I don't fully appreciate how it works, or the author didn't use it correctly.

I can't say anything truly negative about this book, because it doesn't deserve it. Anything I don't like is merely a personal preference. Yet I can't say, "Drop what you're doing & read this book." I hate to damn something with faint praise, but it seems that's all I can do in this case. So I'll end here. ( )
  LauraCerone | May 26, 2016 |
I'd placed my bookmark and made my way to bed with every intention of getting up the following morning and finishing the final ten pages of a book I was REALLY enjoying but was simply too tired to fully appreciate - what I knew would be - the spectacular ending.

OH MY . . the wailing and gnashing of teeth that ensued when I found the ebook had *expired* and I was rejoining the library's "waitee" list - in fifth place, no less! It took three weeks before the ebook came around again - a painfully long wait for the final ten pages!

The (almost) three week interlude gave me time to *think* . . . always a dangerous pastime for me! I'd mentally tacked-on numerous bang-up endings replete with drama, pathos and lots of familial folderol! In reality, it was a lovely ending - worth the wait - but a bit more subdued than I (during my enforced, and impatient, hiatus) anticipated.

Funny, edgy, entertaining and (if you have a female sibling or two) very familiar. I enjoyed it . . it was worth the wait. ( )
  idajo | May 8, 2016 |
Frankly, I bought this book because I fell for the marketing techniques (cool cover, cool premise). Lately it seems like I curse myself for falling for the marketing, as the state of publishing these days seems to be all about platform and sales, and the best first twenty pages ever ( at the expense of the story itself). Glad to say that this is a good book though. It would have stood on its own as a story of three sisters who are facing real adulthood. Fun was added by the quirk of it being the "weird" sisters, so named for their professor father's lifelong passion for Shakespeare, so that they are each named after one if the famous bard's characters. ( )
  sydsavvy | Apr 8, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 196 (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.
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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.

(summary from another edition)

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