The Weird Sisters

I recently finished the book, The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown. (This is not a sponsored post, but it is an affiliate link.)

The publisher’s description gives such a perfect overview I will not attempt to reinvent the wheel:

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. “See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much”.

I am not a spoiler. [I hate that. It was driven home by a high school English teacher told us how every book ended AS she was handing it out.] So I will simply tell you the overriding theme that has stuck with me: Our assigned roles can trap us. We listen to our own stereotypes and have a tendency to act accordingly, even when we hate ourselves for it.

After finishing the book I decided to do an exercise: Write down the top 5 descriptors of myself. Here is what I came up with:

Reliable
Dependable
Trust Worthy
Loyal
Smart

I looked at the list, and it felt like a straight jacket. Those are what I always thought I had to be. It’s not saying that any of those items are bad (and hopefully most people who know me wouldn’t wonder who on Earth I was describing with those!), but that is so Old-Tammy. It’s not really how I view myself now. So then I wrote down my current, conscious view of myself:

Adventurous
Funny
Real
Thoughtful
Quirky

That list made me smile. I’m sure fewer people would see me in those terms, but I do. And to me right now, that matters more. Ideally I want those to show through to others as well.

It feels like I am between worlds sometimes… and it is so easy to slip back into those conditioned roles depending on the circumstance. I’m just proud of myself for working to create the me I want to be.

I’m so glad for the NPR book review of The Weird Sisters that led me to the book. Shakespeare is woven throughout the novel, and it is told in the first person plural, which strangely works. It is a wonderful read and I highly recommend it.

Do you find yourself sliding into an old role in certain situations? Or what books would you recommend? (I’m always on the lookout!)

5 thoughts on “The Weird Sisters”

  1. Absolutely, positively, maddeningly so. Family can push buttons. Family can really fit you into roles that you don’t necessarily see yourself in. I’m so glad to read what you had to say about Weird Sisters because I started it and didn’t “get it” very quickly – didn’t like the voice – returned it to the library – even after having waited for my # to come up in the hold line. And then I saw it at Target again the other day and was drawn to it. So – okay – I really trust your opinion and I’m going to give it another go. Being as I’m one of 3 weird sisters and I’ve been a high school English teacher (hopefully not the kind that ruined the endings for students) – I really ought to have enjoyed the Shakespeare edge to it. Okay. Okay. I’m going to reinvest some time.
    Does that ever happen to you? You can read something that just doesn’t resonate with you at one point – and then 6 months, a year, several years maybe later – you can’t stop reading? It’s often been my experience.

    Thank you for the “weird” recommendation.

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    1. Okay, Barb, our similarities are starting to get a bit creepy. I also am one of three sisters!

      I do know what you mean about things not resonating initially. I give books 50 pages and then cast them aside if they haven’t grabbed me. I am about to try “Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” again, with the understanding that it actually gets good at page 100. If not, I’ll give up again.

      The Weird Sisters was one that I wanted to read slower at the end to make it last. I saw bits of myself in two of the three sisters, the third was just so maddening to hear the things she was doing. It was definitely the family pushing buttons thing you mentioned.

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