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Weird Sisters (Brown) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
A family drama, gracefully costumed in academic garb and lit with warm comedy, 'tis a consummation devoutly to be wished…if you know a Stratfordian who's always quoting the Bard, get thee to a bookstore…Brown is such a clever writer, and she's written such an endearing story about sisterly affection and the possibilities of redemption, that it's easy to recommend The Weird Sisters.
Ron Charles - Washington Post


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.
Publishers Weekly


This lovely debut novel is a tale of three sisters: Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia. Named by their father, a famous Shakespeare professor who communicates primarily in Shakespearean verse, they grew up surrounded by books near the campus of a small Midwestern college. Rose, the oldest, stays close to home and follows her father into academia. Bean, the middle child, leaves home for an exciting life in New York City. Cordy, the youngest, drifts aimlessly across the country. Life isn't turning out to be what the sisters expected, so each decides separately to return home to care for their sick mother. The sisters are less than thrilled when they learn all three have run home. Unfortunately, the key to starting the next chapters of their lives isn't hiding between the pages of one of their beloved books. Verdict: This novel should appeal to Shakespeare lovers, bibliophiles, fans of novels in academic settings, and stories of sisterhood. The narration is a creative and original blending of the three "Weird Sisters" as one. —Shaunna Hunter, Hampden-Sydney Coll., VA
Library Journal


There are no false steps in this debut novel: the humor, lyricism, and realism characterizing this lovely book will appeal to fans of good modern fiction as well as stories of family and of the Midwest. —Ellen Loughran
Booklist


In a debut about growing up, secrets and failures are predictably resolved when a family crisis reunites three bright but unhappy siblings. As the daughters of a Shakespeare scholar, the Andreas girls are no strangers to the Bard. Oldest Rosalind (known as Rose) is named after the heroine of As You Like It, Bianca (Bean) has the name of the tamed shrew's sister and daddy's girl Cordelia (Cordy) bears the name of King Lear's devoted youngest. Their "weird"ness refers to Macbeth, although the three are far from witch-like, just averagely bookish women grappling with their unusual upbringing and some dubious adult choices. Drawn home to Barnwell, Ohio, because of their mother's breast cancer, the sisters reassemble uneasily in their parents' house—footloose Cordy, now pregnant; self-hating, morally dubious Bean, sacked after embezzling from her New York employers; and overly dutiful Rose. Quirky and perky, Brown's narrative uses light comedy to balance the serious life issues. The family's habit of quoting Shakespeare at every turn is less amusing, and there's also the curious plural narrative voice—"our sister," "our parents,"—seemingly the collective point of view of all three daughters. The story itself is a lengthy account of the women facing their demons, assisted by saintly parents, friends and neighbors who offer jobs, reassurance and romance. All's well that ends well. Readable, upmarket, non-mold-breaking escapism.
Kirkus Reviews




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