Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weird Sisters

Although Eleanor Brown's novel The Weird Sisters may lack the elements of literature that stand the test of time, it offered two elements that caught my attention right away. First, of course, there's the title's allusion to Shakespeare's three witches that encounter Macbeth and Banquo in Act I. Second, the novel is a story of the relationship of three grown sisters.

As a Shakespeare lover of the first order, I enjoyed the way the whole family, inspired by their professor father, work lines of Shakespeare into their conversation. The plot brings two sisters home--in semi-shame, Bean after losing a job when caught stealing from her company, Cordy, pregnant after wandering across the country aimlessly after dropping out of college. Their older sister Rose, a non-tenured math professor also returns home when her fiance accepts a temporary position at Oxford. All converge on the house after their mother's diagnosis with breast cancer and must wrestle with their own pasts and futures.

Rather than playing with subtleties as she works in the Shakespearean references, Brown just goes for the obvious fun. The girls are named, after all, for Rosalind, Bianca (oh yes, the second daughter), and Cordelia, the youngest, and Daddy's favorite.

As one of five sisters myself, I had no problem believing that three sisters could be so very different or that each could be jockeying for position as the parents' favorite, always fearing disappointing the family.

Returning to a small college town, the sisters must find their place (and in a way that only happens in make-believe), jobs just fall into their laps--at the local sandwich shop, at the library, at the local college.

The book has no heavy message or deep meaning (unless you're really looking for one). It's just a quick fun read--and a chance to brush up your Shakespeare!

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