The Weird Sisters
By Eleanor Brown
Review by Jarad Johnson
On first glance, this book has everything that would draw in a bookworm: a character who only answers questions in Shakespearean prose, constant references to reading and books, and pretty good writing. And while those things did make it enjoyable, ultimately I found the book to be lacking in direction and the overall plot to be somewhat juvenile.
The novel centers around three sisters, who have completely failed in all aspects of their lives, and now are coming back to their childhood home to help their mother through cancer, but also because they have nowhere else to go. I was put off by the last half of the book, which added a sudden religious overtone, a jarring turn that didn’t flow naturally.
Let’s start with the things I did enjoy: the Shakespeare, of course. The constant references and quotations (though, realistically, if someone consistently quoted Shakespeare to answer every question it might get annoying). I only wish most people were that familiar with the Bard’s body of work. The overall atmosphere of the book seemed really appropriate for this time of year, as the book is set in a sleepy college town during the summer, and anyone who has ever visited a campus at that time knows that intense feeling of lethargy. It’s sort of the same in the novel; it seems to go along at an amiable pace, neither too rushed nor too slow. Also, if you love books, the passages about reading and growing up with it as a central tenant, will really resonate. Because reading is just as important, if not more so, to your development than school is.
The plot itself I found to be a little cliché and juvenile. It reminds me of a Hallmark movie, a sort of feel good, life lesson type thing, where everything is alright in the end, and tied up with a bow. It felt a little tired. In nearly 400 pages, I’m not sure that I feel like the author really said anything, and the novel seemed unfinished with a rushed ending. That slow and languid pace very quickly sped up in the last 50 pages and left me with a sense that I hadn’t read the whole book. Also, some of the religious aspects to the book bothered me, not because of the religion itself, because many people have faith, but one characters’ sudden shift in religious perspective. It just didn’t seem to fit in with the rest of the narrative. To me, this is one of the most unrealistic aspects of the book, other than one of the characters not being charged with grand larceny.
Overall, I did find the novel to be enjoyable, but it could have been better. I loved the nod to book lovers and Shakespeare. However, the ending felt undone and incomplete, like the last quarter of the book. It felt like there was a part of the book missing, or that there should be a sequel, as well as some major gaps in the narrative arc. This is a book that needed a little fine tuning to work well.
Jarad attends Middle Tennessee State University, loves tea, and tries to spend every spare second reading. Jarad is majoring in English. Bless his heart! Let's all light a candle for him and send him happy thoughts!