Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Weird Sisters

Rating 4 out of 5 Shakespearean Sonnets

The three Andreas sisters grew up in the cloistered household dominated by their Shakespearean professor father, a prominent, eccentric academic whose reverence for the Bard left its imprint on his daughters' names: Rosalind (As You Like It), Bianca (The Taming of the Shrew), and Cordelia (King Lear). The siblings eventually left home and escaped their ponderous monikers with nicknames, but their mother's medical maladies brings them back. Before long, their unwelcome reunion reveals that they all have problems: Rose is force-feeding a troubled relationship; Bean is entangled in a big city case of embezzlement; and unmarried Cordy is pregnant. (courtesy of Goodreads.com)

This was a ponderous and slow read for me. Maybe it's because I've been reading teen fiction and burning through those so quick it was a change of pace to read something with a little more depth. It was a welcome plunge.

The first-person plural narrative is hard to adjust to, but I absolutely loved the effect. By the end of the novel, I saw how it made the story complete. It fits with the Shakespearean theme in that the Weird Sisters in his play refer to themselves in the same way.

Speaking of the Shakespearean stuff, I loved it. The way the characters wove the Bard's words within their own dialogue was enchanting. I wish I knew those words as well as these characters did. And then it shows how the family has lived under the shadow of the greatest writer who ever lived and a professor who loved him. The thing that really sealed the deal for me to even want to read this book was the Shakespeare allusions in it.

Another theme I loved within the pages of this novel was the idea of what's in a name. These girls are named after Shakespearean heroines and, thus, are given ideals to live under and strive for. It is interesting to see how they cope with that, how they differ from their namesakes, and how they are poignantly similar. The characterization in this novel is absolutely terrific. Once I was done with it I felt like I knew the sisters so well they could be my own kin. Each one was distinct from the other, but they overlapped in ways that is so real that they felt like real people. My favorite, admittedly, was Bianca, or Bean. For some reason I related to her the most, and I liked how her story evolved and how it was eventually concluded. It did not end the way I wanted or expected, but I was glad it didn't. I feel that each sister got what they wanted and needed.

I highly recommend this book to anyone. It is thought provoking and beautifully written. I gave it 4 out of 5 Shakespearean sonnets.

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