In the debut novel The Weird Sisters, the Andreas sisters, all named after Shakespearean characters, move home to the college town of Barnwell when their mother is diagnosed with cancer. Never mind that each of them would have ended up back home anyway because of their circumstances. The oldest, Rose (Rosalind) feels her parents can’t get along without her and that she must be there for their lives to run smoothly. Bean (Bianca) is fleeing NYC in disgrace after embezzling from her employers, and Cordy (Cordelia) is a free-roaming, free-spirit who is stopped in her wanderings by an unwanted pregnancy.
The crux of the story is the sisters’, who have all been slightly damaged by their odd upbringing by a Shakespearean scholar and an emotionally absent mother, crises. How they come to terms with their individual situations, character, and their family situation, trying to get along with each other and trying to help their mother through breast cancer treatments, is what involves the reader in the story.
The narration is interesting; Brown uses “we” as the perspective, making all three sisters at once the narrator. There is an omniscience in the narration that is missing from the individual characters, leading the reader to draw insights on the characters before they do themselves. The narration is a little distracting at first but you quickly adjust and move on with the story.
This novel would make a good book club book, as there is a lot to discuss regarding the characterizations and the narrative perspective. I enjoyed it. It doesn’t top my list of great works of fiction but the characters are realistic, as is the plot, and the prose is solid.
-submitted by Staffer Shannon Baker