Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters is, at its core, a story of sisters. ("See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much.") Daughters of a Shakespeare professor who primarily communicates through verse and named each of them after great Shakespearean women, each come home after failing in life to help their mother who was recently been diagnosed with cancer. But "home" means something different to each of them, and they must not only come to terms with where their lives have led them, but learn to put aside their differences and get to know each other all over again. Each has a secret she's unwilling to share, and it will take the strength of all three to see them through.

I should first mention that I am an only child, and therefore have no personal experiences with sisters, or brothers for that matter, to judge how close the relationships between Rose (Rosalind), Bean (Bianca), and Cordy (Cordelia) are to the real thing. However, it seemed plausible to me.

As just about everyone else who has reviewed this book has stated, a knowledge of Shakespeare is not necessary to the understanding or liking of this book. It does, however, help. Shakespeare was the first classic literature that I loved. I loved the iambic pentameter, the wordplay, how incredibly bawdy the bard could be, and how each story seemed to touch on some immortal truth. Reading The Weird Sisters (affectionately named after the three witches in Macbeth) has made me want to get out my own Riverside Shakespeare and re-read my favorites and discover new ones. And that, I think, is one of the things that makes a book great: its ability to go beyond its own story and inspire you to read others.

Aside from the Shakespearean references, I wasn't sure if I was going to really like this book at the beginning. Each of the sisters is highly flawed (highlighted by the first sentence: "We came home because we were failures") and I didn't like them much. They were too different from myself to really make a connection with them.

But as the story progressed and each character began to own up to her own flaws and failings, as they began to set aside their personal woes for the greater good, they started to look more like people to me, rather than characters with a set agenda. I started to root for them, and I felt their falls and cheered their successes. In the end, they became people I would happily meet and befriend. And I learned something, too. Even in our failures, we are learning how to become a success.

This is a wonderful book if you like Shakespeare, sisters, or simply a good story. It's incredibly well-written and has a unique voice (the first-person-plural narrative is definitely unique) and worth your time to check out. 4 out of 5 stars.

This was one of the books I had on my list for the Spring Reading Thing. Check out my list here.


  1. I love Shakespeare and I love all the positive reviews that I have been reading on this book. I'm definitely going to be picking it up.

  2. I started this book and had to put it down. I was having a real hard time with the sisters, each annoyed me. I really want to pick it back up when I have more time to devote to it. I don't think it's a book you can simply reading for a few minutes at a time.