#78 review: The Weird Sisters

The Weird Sisters


Eleanor BROWN

Audiobook: 11 hours

Narrated by Kirsten POTTER

Published in January 2011 by Penguin Audio

(Hardcover published in January 2011 by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam)

This book counts for

2011 Audio Book Challenge


I guess I was intrigued by this book and got into it because of the Shakespeare reference to the Weird sisters, and this kind of eccentric character of their dad who “speaks Shakespeare” in his very day life. This is the kind of passion I understand easily. But I’m not too sure why I kept listening to it, though I can hardly abandon a book in which books are so important. And the three sisters cannot live without reading, and one of them ends up working as a librarian. Usually, I’m not that fond of family and women stories, with their everyday woes. And this is what you have here, when the three sisters come back home together because of something that happened in their adult lives. And they end up taking care of their mother fighting breast cancer.

Really not my usual cup of tea, and I didn’t find the narrator exceptionally good. Her role was actually hard and bland, due to a particular style effect: the whole book is narrated in the first person of the plural; it is always: “we”, no matter what sister they are talking about, to highlight the ultimate unity of their family and sisterly bonds. I mean that the narrator could not play with a variety of accents or tones of voice, because of this particular writing technique.

Eventually, their bonds help each of the three sisters be really her own self and be happy in her uniqueness of character and life, and that’s a beautiful message if you are into family stories and books.


There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected. [Goodreads]


I found this passage on breadmaking really good, you can almost smell the bread, can’t you?


Born and raised in the Washington, D.C. area, Eleanor has lived in St. Paul, San Francisco, Philadelphia, South Florida, and Oxford, London, and Brighton, England.  She lives in Colorado with her partner, writer and new media superstar, J.C. Hutchins.

Eleanor’s writing has appeared in anthologies, journals, magazines, and newspapers.  The Weird Sisters, her first novel, hit the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and national Indie best seller lists, and is available now from Amy Einhorn Books in the US, and from multiple international publishers.


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]


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