The Weird Sisters
by Eleanor Brown


Amy Einhorn Books, 2011. ISBN 978-0-399-15722-6.
Reviewed by Judith Helburn
Posted on 01/31/2011

Fiction: Mainstream

How could I not pick up a book from the library called The Weird Sisters? My son has taught his children to consider me weird in a nice way. And, once I read that the three sisters are called weird because they all read so much, I was hooked before I'd finished the first page.

The scene is set when the two sisters return home to the same college town where their father teaches Shakespearean literature at the near-by prestigious college, their mother suffers from breast cancer, and their other sister lives.

Aside from their reading habits, the sisters are very different. The three who love one another but do not like one another tell their tale in a polyphonic style which enhances the telling. Think about inner comments, amusing, caustic, philosophical and hopeful. I found it interesting that the observers or witnesses seem to be the sisters, different combination each time, like a Greek chorus.

"...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."

Each sister faces her own crisis while they all focus on dealing with their mother's battle with cancer. Their father, the absent minded professor, who is so infused with Shakespearean quotations that the entire family speaks Shakespeare, is loving and caring-when he remembers to look up from his books. My own slight familiarity with Shakespeare enhanced my enjoyment.


Eleanor Brown's writing has appeared in anthologies, magazines and journals. She holds an M.A. in literature and lives in Colorado with her partner, the writer J.C. Hutchins. Visit her website.

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