See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much.'
The Weird Sisters of Eleanor Brown's delightful debut novel had an unusual upbringing. Their professor father spoke primarily in Shakespearean verse, and unlike other kids in their charming Midwestern college town of Barnwell, the Andreas girls buried themselves in books so thoroughly they never learned to like each other much and then when adulthood arrived, each felt out of step with the world.
Their mother's cancer shocks the girls but also gives Bean (Bianca), who loves attention, and Cordy (Cordelia), the 'baby', a chance to return to Barnwell from New York and New Mexico respectively. Bean has been caught embezzling and can't understand how her life has got so out of control, while Cordy is unexpectedly pregnant. Each is frightened to admit their failures to Rose (Rosalind), the responsible eldest, who stayed in Barnwell to teach maths and cling to her caretaker-martyr role. She too is terrified to face the truth of her situation.
With lively dialogue and witty collective narration, the sisters' untangling of their identities and relationships is honest and wise, and the questions they raise about how we carry our childhood roles into our adult lives will resonate with all readers, especially those with their own weird sisters.
Eleanor Brown writes, 'The spring of my junior year in high school, my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer and 2010 is her 20th anniversary as a breast cancer survivor. The Weird Sisters takes many of the pieces of my life that formed me as a person - an intellectual family of three sisters, living in insulated academic worlds, my mother's breast cancer, and all the wandering I did in trying to find myself - and melds them into the fictional world of Barnwell, Ohio, and the Andreas sisters. I now work in educational technology and live with my longtime boyfriend, writer and new media superstar J.C. Hutchins.'
Born and raised in the Washington DC area, Eleanor Brown is one of three girls. The most important life lesson they learned from their parents - an independent school educator and a social worker - was never to go anywhere without taking something to read.
The Weird Sisters
Harper Collins Australia
Author: Eleanor Brown