From My Shelves: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Sisterland

I’m doing book reviews on my blog in an effort to read all the books I already own. This week I’m reviewing Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Where it came from….

Earlier this summer I was riding around the town by my cabin with my sister and my mom called to let me know that the store in town with all the books had a sale rack outside that said “HUGE Book Sale” or something of the sort. Even though I told myself I would read the books I already had before buying new ones….it was tempting. So I told my sister to park outside and let me check it out for a few minutes.

Well, it turns out the sale was only one rack of books outside that were marked down to a dollar. As I usually try to avoid the place because they actually can be expensive and have too many things that I like, I decided to just look at that rack.

Anyway, I went through all the $1 books, of course, because I can certainly afford that. I didn’t see much of anything I was interested in or had even heard of. But then I grabbed this one — Sisterland. The title intrigued me, the cover intrigued me, and then when I picked it up and looked at the synopsis and the author bio, I knew I was going to buy it. It’s written by Curtis Sittenfeld, who incidentally, is a woman.

So I went to the cash register and made the store owner pretty annoyed by paying with a $20 bill for a $1 book.

So the plot…

 

The book is the story of Daisy and Violet Schramm, identical twin sisters who have particular “senses” that allow them to predict the future. Violet loves and continues to develop her senses throughout her life, while Daisy (who now goes by Kate), has done everything she can to suppress them.

At the start of the book, Vi has just made a prediction that there will be a terrible earthquake in St. Louis (where they live). As the aftermath of the prediction unfolds, we follow Kate as she navigates the everyday life of a suburban mother of young children while also trying to prevent her sister from looking like a crazy person — and discrediting her own sanity by default.

What did you think of it?

I really enjoyed the structure of this book, which alternated between chapters that followed the present plotline and the backstory of Kate and Vi’s life. It actually is a pretty relevant structure for my own novel-in-progress, so I was thinking about that a lot while reading it.

Violet and Kate/Daisy are just really interesting, complex characters. They are identical twins and yet they are, in so many ways, completely opposite of each other. In many other ways they are exactly the same. Learning about their relationship through the years and watching their character development was reason enough to enjoy this book.

I also really found their “senses” to be portrayed in a really interesting way. It didn’t feel like fantasy or even like what I’m used to as magical realism. It just felt like an everyday kind of thing that happens every once in awhile to everyday people.

Overall I found the book easy and very enjoyable to read, fast-paced but also contemplative. I’m still not sure, even after having finished it last week, how I feel about the ending. I’m still kind of processing what happened and where the characters ended up. I won’t reveal it, though. Let’s just say I didn’t see it coming.

I’d definitely recommend this to just about anyone. I really enjoyed reading it.

Will I put it back on the shelf?

I’m not exactly sure yet. While I did enjoy this book, I’m not sure that I’m going to make space for it on my shelves which are honestly already completely full and spilling out into piles all over my bedroom. I’m going to think on whether or not I’m keeping this one.

 

Thanks for reading!

 

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