We wish we could say in some capacity that the title is referring to us. It’s not (yet), but recently I read two books in a row about sisters, of both the sibling and friend kind, and their relationships. Fitting for us, no?
The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown is about three sisters who grew up in a small Ohio college town, daughters of a Shakespeare professor (hence the title). They all went different ways in adulthood, but come together somewhat tempestuously when their mother is diagnosed with breast cancer. As they take care of their mother, they learn how to take care of one another, despite how they each are. Overall, I really enjoyed the book. Some parts peeved me, like how one sister, Bianca, moved to NYC after college, desperate to escape their small-town Ohio life, and NYC is portrayed like this big, bad wolf that makes women superficial and unfulfilled. Bianca has a “Confessions of a Shopaholic” kind of consumerism nightmare story. That aside, I did my usual thing where I picked out some of my favorite quotes:
Dating criteria (my favorite): “Because despite his money and his looks and all the good-on-paper attributes he possessed, he was not a reader, and, well, let’s just say that is the sort of nonsense up with which we will not put.”
Words to live by: “You get older and you learn there is one sentence, just four words long, and if you can say it to yourself it offers more comfort than almost any other… At least I tried.”
On settling down: “Long ago she had thought bravery equaled wandering, the power was in the journey. Now she knew that, for her, it took no courage to leave; strength came from returning. Strength lay in staying.”
On siblings: “We’re all exactly alike you know,” said Cordy. “Sure. In the way that we’re completely different,” said Rose.
With Alexis Bledel and Blake Lively in the back of my mind, I picked up the last book in the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series, Sisterhood Everlasting. I would only read this if you saw the movie or read the other books. It’s an okay story, I really just wanted to see how it ended, but I found the spiritual connection between all these sisters a little over the top. Either I don’t value my friends enough, or I’m a big cynic. Or both. The best thing about this book was that instead of chapters, there were contextual quotes to divide the text. There were some real gems in there that I hadn’t heard before from E.E. Cummings, Churchill and others, and I’m a sucker for well-phrased descriptions and sound bites of wisdom. Here are some others from the author that caught my eye:
On snail mail: “It was a blessing and a curse of handwritten letters, that unlike mail, you couldn’t obsessively reread what you’d written after you’d sent it. You couldn’t attempt to unsend it. Once you’d sent it, it was gone. It was an object that no longer belonged to you, but belonged to your recipient to do with what he would. You tended to remember the feeling of what you’d said more than the words.”
For a good chuckle because it’s true: “Heathrow airport was the place where you slept by the window and brushed your teeth in the restroom and felt like a complete asshole.”