Sunday, February 27, 2011



By Eleanor Brown

Published by: The Penguin Group / 375 Hudson Street / New York, New York 10014

First Printing: 2011

ISBN: 978-0-399-15722-6

Amazon; Barnes and Noble; Goodreads

Concept: “Unlucky in work, love, and life, the Andreas sisters return to their childhood home. Each has a secret she’s unwilling to share – each has come home to lick her own wounds.

The Andreas family is an eccentric one. Books are their passion (There is no problem a library card can’t solve), TV something other families watched. Their father – a renowned professor of Shakespeare who communicates almost exclusively in verse – named all three girls for great Shakespearean women – Rose (Rosaline), Bean (Bianca), and Cordy (Cordelia); as a result, the sisters find that they have a lot to live up to.

With this burden, the Andreas sisters have a difficult time communicating with their parents and their lovers, but especially with one another. What can the homebody and shy eldest sister, the fast-living and mysterious middle child, and the bohemian youngest sibling have in common? Why can’t Rose leave her hometown for the man she loves? Why has glamorous Bean come home from New York City with her tail between her legs, to the small college town she swore she’d leave as soon as she could? And why has Cordy suddenly resurfaced after years of gypsy living? Each sister has found her life nothing like she had thought it would be – and now, as they are faced with their parents’ frailty and their own disappointments and setbacks, their usual quick salve of a book can’t solve what ails them.”

Review: Some of the first opening thoughts in this book is how sisters have such a relationship that they can communicate each other’s thoughts without having to speak them. In fact, on the cover, is the blurb “See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much.” This attracted me to the book because of the relationship I share with my own sister. We are very close, I honestly don’t know if I could breathe without her, yet we spent some time being estranged from each other. I wanted to read this book hoping that it might have some little insights into the “sister” relationship that I might hold close to my heart. (In fact, if any of you readers out there happen to know of such a book, please let me know. I’d like to find such a book.) In truth, there are some parts in this book that do pay homage to the relationship that sisters share. But unfortunately, I think the story falls short.

We meet these sisters at a rough time in their lives. One is pregnant from a one night stand; another is working on a long distance relationship and caring for their parents and the last sister has embezzled money from her employer and has been caught. Two of the sisters return home to the third sister and their parents. The mom is going through breast cancer treatment and their father is sort of like the man you would expect in a house full of women.

The story sets everything up beautifully, introducing various characters and taking us back into the girls’ childhood. It moves back and forth seamlessly. There are moments of tenderness and charm tucked into this story and the ending isn’t a culmination of anything. It just simply happens as life does.

What I liked: I don’t know why I stuck with this story as long as I did. There was nothing really important that happened in this book yet I read every single page and kept enjoying each one. I can’t quite put my finger on the reason why though. One part of the story that I loved…each member of the family was an avid reader and they all had the same reading habits. They would start a book and leave it open in various rooms. One of the sisters would go through the rooms and bookmark the places for its owner. It was rather a charming and tender thing to do.

What I disliked: Some people don’t like first person v. third person in the telling of a story. This story was told from the third person plural view. (I may be wrong in the correct term for that, but I think that's what it's called.). It pissed me off though because I never knew who was telling the story. I also didn’t like that there was no real story to this story. Some people say its not realistic to have highs and lows…sometimes things just move through life, just well, moving. But when I read about something, I want there to be a story there. That’s why I read. While I enjoyed this book, I really don’t know if I’d recommend it to anyone.

My rating: 3 Stars


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