Author: Eleanor Brown
Format: Audio CD
Published: Penguin Audio; Jan. 2011
Narrator: Kirsten Potter
Genre: Literary fiction
Source: Personal copy
Synopsis: You don't have to have a sister or be a fan of the Bard to love Brown's bright, literate debut, but it wouldn't hurt. Sisters Rose (Rosalind; As You Like It), Bean (Bianca; The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordy (Cordelia; King Lear)--the book-loving, Shakespeare-quoting, and wonderfully screwed-up spawn of Bard scholar Dr. James Andreas--end up under one roof again in Barnwell, Ohio, the college town where they were raised, to help their breast cancer–stricken mom. The real reasons they've trudged home, however, are far less straightforward: vagabond and youngest sib Cordy is pregnant with nowhere to go; man-eater Bean ran into big trouble in New York for embezzlement, and eldest sister Rose can't venture beyond the "mental circle with Barnwell at the center of it." For these pains-in-the-soul, the sisters have to learn to trust love--of themselves, of each other--to find their way home again. The supporting cast--removed, erudite dad; ailing mom; a crew of locals; Rose's long-suffering fiancé--is a punchy delight, but the stage clearly belongs to the sisters; Macbeth's witches would be proud of the toil and trouble they stir up.
My Take: This is one of those books that I had been seeing a lot of buzz about around the blogosphere and my interest was certainly intrigued. It sounded like a book unlike anything I had ever read before. I was happy to discover that it was unlike anything I had ever read before in a delightful way.
I realize not everyone wants their books sprinkled with Shakespeare quotes, that it might come off as, say pretentious, but I found it to be a fun remarkably different kind of read. The family this book centered on was so eccentric and to imagine having your life circle around Shakespeare like theirs does seems amazing but alas, I am getting ahead of myself.
We have a small town, Barnwell, OH, and a father (the key Shakespeare scholar) and a mother (recently diagnosed with breast cancer) who have raised three daughters. These three daughters were all named after Shakespeare heroines and they have all left the nest in wildly different ways but are slowly making their way back 'to help their mother'. I put that in quotes because they all have other reasons to come back as well. All of these family members walk around spouting off Shakespeare quotes as if it is second nature. Maybe this would be harder to understand if it you reading it (I am having flashbacks to high school English!) but when it was being read to me under the fabulous voice talents of Kirsten Potter it sounded natural, as if, yes why doesn't everyone spout off Shakespeare because that totally fits the situation. He really does have a quote for everything!
Ok so the three sisters. We have the oldest: Rosalind who goes by Rose. I can honestly say that of the three I disliked her the most. She had this superiority complex that the whole family needed her and would fall apart without her so she couldn't follow her own dreams. Get over yourself! Then there was the middle daughter Bianca, who goes by Bean, who stole a bunch of money so she runs home to overcome that issue. Finally we have the youngest, Cordelia, or Cordy, who is inflicted with wanderlust but suddenly finds herself pregnant so needs a steady home. So, yes, under the guise of helping their mom, they are all back home figuring out their problems and entertaining me thoroughly in the process.
If you are looking for a break from your average fiction, then you need look no further as you will most certainly find it in The Weird Sisters!
Cover Lust: It's simple and artistic. I like it. It doesn't reveal anything really about what is about to happen inside!