"See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much." This statement is announced on the front cover, before you even open the book. At first glance, the Andreas family appears to be no more dysfunctional than the average American family. Dad is Dr. James Andreas, Shakespearean scholar and professor at a Midwestern college, who communicates largely in Shakespearean verse. Mom is a little spacey - not so unusual - right? The three Andreas daughters were, of course, named after characters from favorite Shakespeare plays - Rose (Rosalind from "As You Like It:); Bean (Bianca from "The Taming of the Shrew"); and Cordy (Cordelia from "King Lear). While other kids were into normal kids' stuff - T.V., sports, shopping, etc. - the Andreas girls were into books and the unrealistic fantasy world they provided. That's not to say that they didn't totally fulfill the characteristic traits set forth by their birth order. Rose, the eldest, was the responsible one, to a fault. Bean, the middle child, starved for attention, became hooked on living an exciting life. Cordy, the youngest, was classically irresponsible and seemingly carefree. That is until Mrs. Andreas became gravely ill with cancer. This gave them all an excuse to come home, bad baggage and all.
Once under the same roof again, they picked up right where they left off. Ever the martyr, Rose feels that no one can get along without her help, and has trapped herself inside a "mental circle with Barnwell at the center of it." Bean has escaped her glitzy life in New York City with embezzlement charges pending against her by her previous employer. And Cordy appears out of nowhere, pregnant and adrift. All the while, Dad is spewing sonnets in lieu of advice like "The Bard" himself.
With a great caste of supporting characters, The Weird Sisters
is funny and poignant at the same time. The dialogue is smart, the character development spot on. Eleanor Brown's debut novel deftly explores family roles and how traditional sibling rivalry can grow into mature relationships, helping each other to finally make smart choices.