Thursday, June 12, 2014

the weird sisters: a review

Freckles gave me this book a birthday or two ago with a bit of a smirk - the tag line on the cover says "See, we love each other.  We just don't like each other very much." and that was just familiar enough to inspire a bit of sheepish laughter in both of us. The truth is, we like each other quite a bit more than the sisters in The Weird Sisters, a novel by Eleanor Brown, but still ... sisters. 

In my life, my sister relationships have been some of the most challenging and rewarding. We are not always friends, but that doesn't matter as we are ALWAYS sisters. Again and again my sisters have proven they have my back against all-comers and when things truly go sideways, they are there. As the youngest of three sisters, I have always identified with the daughters of King Lear, but meeting the incarnations of Cordelia (King Lear), Rosalinde (As You Like It) and Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew) in The Weird Sisters (MacBeth) took the sister trio trope, married it to love of Shakespeare (AND THE RIVERSIDE SHAKESPEARE NO LESS!) and my mind was blown. Or, at least, my imagination was tickled.

I loved reading this story. It does not have a lot of surprises, and - to be honest - it may be that the sister/Shakespeare combo punch made me blind to flaws in the story. Miss St. Lovely also read it and found it draggy and dull. But I LOVED IT. It definitely had a slow burn - it was a book you sunk into like spoon in marshmallow fluff. There's not a whole lot of plot, but there's more than enough sibling tension to knot my stomach. And who doesn't love a dad who speaks almost fully in Shakespearean quotes. In real life that would be freaking annoying, but he makes a fun character. 

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One 'character' that particularly made me smile was the father's beloved edition of the Riverside Shakespeare. For the uninitiated, the Riverside is a comprehensively annotated complete works of Shakespeare that places each piece in its historical, cultural, and literary context. It is one of the first texts I was required to purchase when I returned to university, was by far the most expensive (in a degree built on Penguin Classic paperbacks) and remains one of my favourite prized tomes. Sometimes I take it out just to feel its heft. More often I refer to it as a pseudo-encyclopedia if BB2 and I are discussing pre-Modern literarature or the Renaissance (and yes, that happens. #GeekMomPride). In a house fire, I would grab my photo albums, my Bible, and my Riverside Shakespeare.

As I write this review I wonder just how much my particular persona (baby sister book geek) coloured my reading of The Weird Sisters. Does it really matter though? It was a sweet story well told and reading it affirmed my experiences for me. What more do you want from a book?

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