Deeply moving and deeply sad, this is a book that packs a lot of emotion. When you see the title "The Sisters" you know it's going to be about family, but you don't really realize how those people will interact until reading the book.
Mabel and Bertie are
sisters. Bertie is just getting ready to graduate the eighth grade and
her biggest dream is to marry Wallace, a local boy, who is older than
her, but who she still adores. Mabel, having quit school when their
mother died to care for her sister and their step-father approves of
Bertie's choice. So when Mabel and Wallace run away together, and the
step-father dies, it spins the whole family's world for a loop and even
has an impact on future generations.
I did like Mabel much better
than Bertie. I think it was because she seemed to remain so positive
while Bertie chose to dwell in the past and be miserable at times. I
understand there was a lot of heartache all around, and that the lesson
of this book seemed to be that one person could dampen things throughout
the whole family line, but it just seemed to me that Bertie's side of
the family tree was much more depressing than Mabel's. In fact, I was
sad to see that much more of the book was dedicated to Bertie and her
family than Mabel and her family. Mabel was the much more interesting
of the two. Even so though, Bertie had quite a few characters and
personalities and my favorite on her's was Grace, a granddaughter who
was a bit of a free spirit.
Since this is about a family and
their lives you would expect the book to move quite slowly at times.
But it doesn't. There is always enough drama and strife going on that
someone is doing something at all times. And just the grief the
characters expressed was enough to tug you in to see what happens. And
the book also deals with some hard topics such as incest, abuse, and
homosexuality in the early part of the 20th century. It's not a book to
take lightly or consider afternoon pleasure reading. There's some
serious stuff going on in here.
I'm very glad I took the librarian's recommendation on this book. While it wasn't a pleasant read, it was a good one.