If you’ve ever called your own family “weird”, or feel like your relationship with your brothers or sisters seems so odd yet strangely comforting at the same time, then I highly recommend this book for you!
This book holds a special place in my heart because of my love of Shakespeare. As mentioned in the “About Me” section of this blog, one of the most inspiring moments in my life was when my 6th grade teacher gave me The Complete Works of Shakespeare with a dedication written in the front. This gesture told me he saw something in me: a true talent for writing and an appreciation of literature. The amazing part was that I was only 12 years old but it will always stay with me. That same appreciation for writing and literature is a strong thread throughout this book.
The Weird Sisters tells the story of a family led by a father that quotes Shakespeare constantly, often leaving his children puzzled and longing to understand the underlying meaning of his prose. The mother is soft spoken, yet impactful, and finds happiness in the simpliest of pleasures, whether it be a day in the garden, a long walk in the evening, or cooking.
The main characters of this debut novel by Brown are sisters that fight so hard to rebel against the small town and world they knew as children. They are all named after Shakespearean characters, but each with a shortner nickname. Rose, the eldest, feels a constant pressure to be the “caretaker”, the one that always knows best and is always responsible. Bean , the second oldest, searches for a life full of “things” by moving away to New York City, where she is free to wear the trendest clothes, hang out at the coolest bars, and spend money non-stop. Cordy, the youngest, is the resident “hippy”, wandering from one town to another, like a “tumbleweed”, as she labels herself in the book, blowing in and out of places with no real plan or future.
Each sister is eventually pulled back to their small hometown when their mother becomes ill. Though each of them is constantly comparing themselves to one another throughout the book, wishing so badly they could be the “favorite”, they soon fine that they have more in common than they could ever realize. Their journey back home becomes a journey of growth for each of them, both individually, and as sisters.
This book reminded me that there is no such thing as a “normal” family. Siblings fight, parents become ill, babies are born, money and jobs come and go, but in the end…the love of family always shines through. Even though our families can drive us crazy, they also remind us of how important those relationships are, and that everything (even the fighting and bickering) happens for a reason. They prove their truly is a “method to the madness” so to speak.
“Though this be madness, yet there is method in’t.”
-From Hamlet, by William Shakespeare
I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. I personally love it because of the Shakespeare quotes but also because the nickname “Bean” is the same nickname my grandfather uses for my Aunt Colleen. It also takes place in a small town in Ohio, and mentions Columbus, Ohio, which is where my Aunt Colleen lives as well. If you have a love of classic literature, a sense of humor, and an understanding of what it is like to have siblings, you will find this read intriguing and delightful as well.
For a debut novel, it is well written. One of my favorite things about this story is that it paints a picture of a loving home filled with books…so many, in fact, that they are often found on tables, bookshelves, chairs, or even strewn about on the floor, their spines bending backwards from where the last reader stepped away, holding their place. Any spare moment any of these characters have, they spend curled up with a book to help pass the time or distract them from the issues at hand throughout the novel.
This book keeps the reader wondering where each of these “weird” sisters will end up. In the end, it leaves you feeling very connected to the characters, as if you were right along side them, sharing both their struggles and their triumphs.
Read it on your Kindle today!