Zoe’s Room is a sweet story about sharing and sisters. We loved it here and are happy to share our giveaway with you also. This one was so good it was a natural catalyst to getting our Tales From the Treehouse series kicked off for the season again. Zoe is a little girl, a wee bit of a princess, with a bit of a knack for turning her room upside down after lights out time at night. She adores creative play and her imagination is magnificent. Please click through the video review above to see what my kiddo thought. Ainsley enjoyed this one very much and took it to school to share with her entire class.
It gets $$$$$ out of $$$$$.
From the Press release:
The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown is a clever indulgence of a book, a bittersweet treat that will appeal to those who love literary fiction, or a passion for Shakespeare. The Weird Sisters is the story of three sisters, Rose, Bean and Cordy, or, when read as a contemporary and smart adaptation of King Lear, Rosalind, Bianca and Cordelia. Lear, in this telling of the story, is a professor at the University of Barnwell, a big fish inside a rather small bowl. He lives his life entirely in plays and books and recites bits of dialogue where conversation should be, and that makes life with this patriarch challenging and awkward. In current vernacular he might have been diagnosed with something akin to Asperger’s disorder or giftedness. He possesses brilliance and he is a remarkably loyal husband to an equally brilliant and scatter-brained wife, but he also is socially inept. Imagine being raised as the child of two parents such as these. Minds on fire all the time and yet often unable to stop thinking long enough to perform the most basic of domestic tasks required to raise a house full of girls. And so naturally the eldest of the girls, Rose has become the motherly figure, organizing everyone’s lives. As her fiancee has accepted a teaching position abroad for a time in England, Rose is adrift, back home again, not really by choice, but mostly due to the fact she cannot make up her mind if she truly wants to get married. As the story begins, there are three sisters, each returning home austensibly to help their mother battle breast cancer. But as the plot unfolds, it is revealed that each sister has their own reason for returning home. Each has failed in their attempts to live outside this tiny community on their own. Bianca, Bean, is home because she has lost a job, having stolen funds to keep herself living in the New York fashion she is accustomed to. Her clothing, material goods and lifestyle of flirting and disposing of men has caught up with her legally, and her age has also begun to interfere. In a particularly poignant scene Bean, desparate to prove her worth by seducing a man, heads to the Barnwell poolhall and finds a sad group of men on the prowl. Despite her self and her reservations, she pulls out all the stops trying to seduce them, men she wouldn’t even begint o look at twice in New York, and yet here she must settle. As she is honing in for the kill, a group of young women enter the bar and the lovely Bianca is tossed aside, like last night’s leftovers. “What did this mean for her? What do you do when you are no longer the one worth watching? When there are women less beautiful, less intelligent, less versed in the art of the game who nonetheless can beat you at it simply because of their birth date?” Rosalind, Rose, is the homebody, the eldest daughter, faithful and loyal to her family, but a brilliant mind in her own right, unable to realize her full potential, unable too to move on to England where her fiancee has accepted a job as a professor. She is the martyr of the trio. Will she be able to rise above that stereotypical role in time to save herself? Cordelia, Cordy is the baby of the group, an overgrown Hippy roady, allowing the winds to blow her about, never finding anchor until she is forced to re-examine her lifestyle due to an unexpected pregnancy.
Each of the three sisters has a complicated relationship within the family. As the narrator puts it in the start of the book. “See we love each other, we just don’t happen to love each other very much.” They are each a great deal more like their parents than they think they are, and therefore everyone exists slightly socially awkward in the world and much too reliant on the plots and words that they have read and internalized. As their mother prepares for a mastectomy, the narrator says: “Another family might have made preparations. Another mother might have cooked casseroles in Corningware and frozen them, labeled with instructions.” Instead to the hospital each of the sisters brings with her, a book in which they will escape and avoid having to confront real life. “Instead, we would do what we always did, the only thing we’d ever been depebndably stellar at: we’d read.”
In some ways this book is also a charming look at a marriage that is quite remarkable. There are glimpses here that illustrate how interconnected husband and wife are, growing even more intertwined as they are challenged by cancer. There is a comical aside here by the sisters, noting the irony of the fact that so much literature is written on the impact of divorce and none written about the equally onerous impact of a marriage that is epic in strength and duration. How, states one of the sisters, could we ever be expected to find for ourselves a love that is so great? The Weird Sisters is a charming literary coming of age story and a savvy retelling of Shakespeare. It is a dark look at the relationships within a family and the many ways in which family can often simultaneously support, nurture and hurt each other the most.
The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown, Feb. 2011, Putnam Books, Penguin Group Canada, 336 pages, $24.95 US or $31.00 Canadian.
Thriftymommastips rating is $$$$ out of $$$$$.
I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate the review. This in no way impacts or alters my opinion.