I was chatting with one of my favorite book nerd friends a few weeks ago and mentioned that I was looking forward to reading The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown, for Blogher's Book Club this month. (I received the book for free and will be compensated for my review, but all opinions expressed here are, of course, my own!) She said that she'd tried to read it a few months ago and just never got into it, put it aside and never picked it back up, thought it was kind of boring in fact. I shrugged my shoulders and said ok, but frankly I let this bit of information dampen my enthusiasm for the book. I respect my friend's opinions on books and we have fairly similar taste in reading materials, so I was rather disappointed to hear her review. But then I started reading The Weird Sisters and suddenly lost all faith in my friend's judgement!
How could she not be swept away in this beautiful, heartfelt, layered little family drama of a book? Feuding sisters, Shakespearean quotes of magnificent proportion, a first person plural narrator who speaks for all three sisters and tells each of their stories in turn, reporting and judging and explaining for each other all throughout. The romance, the life altering choices, the pain of growing up and failing and moving home. The gorgeous, lush writing filled with distant brilliant parents, the small town, and the books, so many many books. A devotion to the answers and escape and power of books, and this particular book sucked me in and forced me to devour it on one lovely Saturday morning into afternoon. I loved the characters, their flawed reasoning, their mistakes, their frustrations and ultimately their ability to heal themselves and each other and start over in new lives, so different and fulfilling they could not even have imagined for themselves.
After I had finished the book and was having lunch with my friend again the next week, I mentioned how much I had loved The Weird Sisters. And honestly how silly I thought it was that she never finished the book. I waxed rhapsodic about the writing style, the story line and the sense of familiarity and yet the original and creative approach that the author took with the whole feel of the book. And my friend smiled, closed her eyes and shook her head and said, "Oh, we've been talking about two different books about sisters. I've never read The Weird Sisters." We both laughed and I forgave her judgement and became joyful that now she gets to read this book, because I can't imagine that she won't love it like I did.
That's the power of books, I think, the power in sharing them with other people: sisters, friends, neighbors. Passing the stories that have weight and magic in our lives onto others that we know will eat that magic right up. Absorbing that magic and passing it along to the next sister/friend. And while I don't have sisters, I feel like the other women and men who share my love of books are sort of in a sisterhood with me. We have a respect and passion for stories like The Weird Sisters because we know what can happen when a book touches you so deeply, it can change you, for the better.