The Weird Sisters, Eleanor Brown, G P Putnam's Sons, 2011, 318 pp
This novel did pretty much nothing for me. It is a type: I would call it "women's fiction with a quirk." The three Andreas sisters, raised by a nice but distant mother and a Shakespeare professor who named them after Shakespearean women, grew up in a small college town. The family was wont to approach life via quotes from Shakespeare plays and sonnets. They were all great readers, mostly because there was nothing else to do in their small town.
As the novel opens, they are all adults, two have moved away and one is living nearby. Because their mother has been diagnosed with breast cancer, they come together in their childhood home, ostensibly to care for her, but actually to escape their screwed up lives. Then they have conflicts and realizations and it all turns out happy.
Readers of my blog know that I have a fatal flaw which prevents me from being able to enjoy Shakespeare. When I realized how lame it was, I only finished The Weird Sisters because it was a reading group pick. I thought I might like it because three years ago my two sisters and I came together to care for our mother after she had a major stroke. That experience brought out the worst in our relationship.
But this excuse for a novel borders on Shakespeare-light, worse than No Fear or Cliff Notes, just a bunch of quotes thrown in sometimes apropos of nothing. The characters are predictable and they get off much too easy for the mistakes they've made.
I used to have an acquaintance who was a writer and opened a bookstore on the California coast. She had a sign by the cash register offering a refund for any book you bought there that you didn't like. One day a man came in brandishing a book and yelling that she had robbed him of his time. She had recommended the book to him and he had hated it. He was demanding to be repaid for his reading time.
Of course that is one of those tales of horror told by booksellers and we had a good laugh about it. But honestly, I felt this way about The Weird Sisters.
(The Weird Sisters is available in various formats by order from Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)