Recent Reads: Sisterland


Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld was a book I added to my To-Read list back in the beginning of summer. Entertainment Weekly (a.k.a. my life source) gave it a B in the reviews, but it also placed it on the top 10 summer reads list. As I mentioned before, my reading got a little stunted for a while, and I was also waiting for it to be made available at the library (it’s still hardcover, so it’s expensive, and I like going to the library anyway. Free books? Yes.). I finally requested it online a couple of weeks ago and got a call in less than 24 hours. Yay!

Sisterland is the story of identical twins Kate and Violet. The story is told from Kate’s perspective and takes place in the fall of 2009, though it jumps back and forth from their youth to 2009. Like many sisters/siblings and especially twins, Kate and Violet have an untouchable bond, that has grown and weakened through the passing of time and the strange upbringing they share. Most importantly, though, is that Kate and Violet share “psychic” capabilities. Both are capable of premonitions, of knowing some facts about the future and about people. Their “powers” also helped find a child who had been kidnapped, through dreams and visions.
Violet has always been in tune and proud of her ESP, but Kate (who was born Daisy) has decided to distance herself from it. But everything gets turned upside down when, after a small Earthquake in their hometown of St. Louis, Violet predicts a bigger, more dangerous one will be coming soon and shares it on the local news. Word spreads, and she becomes fodder for the nation. Kate is embarrassed while trying to keep her family life together, her senses at bay, and her relationship with Violet in a level place.

This started as a slow read for me. When it comes to reading, I’m the type of girl to say, “One more chapter…okay, one more.” But the chapters were often at least 20 pages long, and I’d have a tendency to read right before bed, and I’d fall asleep before I could finish one. On Sunday night (or, technically, Monday morning) I spent over an hour finishing the book. By that point, I had reached the climax, and I was dying to see how things would turn from one page to the next. The book is a slow burner, but it’s enough to keep you interested.

If I had my way, I would’ve focused a lot more both on Kate and Violet’s relationship and their abilities. Maybe it’s because I’d read in such small increments, but it never felt fully formed to me. Then again, with Kate as the narrator, she’s going to want to talk less and less about Violet and her powers as it goes on, the more she pulls away from it all.

I gave this book 3 stars on Goodreads, mostly because it was well-written and the story was unique to me.
But it did get a little crazy towards the end, a little unbelievable, and that kept me from fully appreciating it.
Not a bad book, I’m glad I read it, but I don’t feel as compelled to read Sittenfeld’s other works.

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