Me and My Sisters by Sinead Moriarty
|Me and My Sisters by Sinead Moriarty|
|Genre: Women's Fiction|
|Reviewer: Zoe Page|
|Summary: Three women, three stories, one family tie that binds them all together. A brilliant, fun, engaging read with a few suprises.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 464||Date: April 2012|
|External links: Author's website|
Louise, Sophie and Julie. Three women. Three sisters. One a successful business woman. One a successful trophy wife. One a successful mother of four. All of them seem to the others to have it all. All of them have more troubles than the others could ever imagine.
This is a great read that is everything Chick Lit should be – witty, touching, easy to read. I loved the way the story changed narrator from one chapter to the next, allowing you to get to know not only the sisters as they see themselves, but also as they see each other. The stories intertwine but are still distinctive and each sister is given an equal weighting and an equal share of the drama. The family seemed very real – even though the sisters are quite different from each other, you believed they were related by blood and bound by a shared upbringing - but it was about them as individuals as well as relations.
There is loads going on in the story but because it’s split between the three main characters it seems more reasonable, if not more manageable. A cheating husband, financial ruin, unexpected pregnancies, toddler tantrums, work crises and fake friends would seem a bit over the top if they were all afflicted on one poor unsuspecting soul, but spread them out and it leaves three people out of their depth but not quite dead on the bottom of the pool. It also makes for a much more interesting story with a nice bit of suspense because each chapter switches focus, returning to a different bit of the story and leaving you hanging on for a bit to find out what happens with the thread you were just on.
The girls are sisters but you could also see them as friends who just happen to share the same parents. There’s not a lot of schmaltzy family nonsense included, despite the title, and while I will recommend this book to my friends, I didn’t feel obliged, on finishing it this morning, to rush off and call my own sister and/or forward my copy to her.
The men didn’t really get a look in in this book, and even Gavin/Acorn the wayward brother who lives in a tree was put to one side when the girls needed to focus their attentions on more pressing matters. I certainly wouldn’t want a mother like theirs, but I liked the way they banded together to handle her, especially relating to what Sophie was going through.
I thought I might like this one, but I really and truly loved it. It was beautifully worded with the children especially written in such a way that only an author who was a mother herself could deliver. Because the sisters are so diverse I think pretty much any reader would be able to find one with whom to empathise, but I found parts in each that I could identify with. I also liked the way the characters developed over the course of the book, becoming more or less focussed on work, motherhood and material things depending on their particular predicament.
Sometimes these types of books are predictable to the extreme. This wasn’t, because although problems were hinted at, when they came to fruition they weren’t exactly what you were expecting. For example with Julie I was 99% certain the issue was something other than what she suspected and I was right… but not in the way I thought I was going to be. So I got the pleasure of guessing correctly, but still got a surprise too, which is always nice (why keep reading if you know what’s going to happen?)
My only one niggle with the book was Julie’s rapid obsession with the online forum: her long rants and descriptions on there did little to move the story on – what she was telling the forumites she’d already shared with the reader – and I thought they rambled. I appreciate that online forums are popular, especially with mums looking to connect with others in their situation, but it seemed a bit of an afterthought here. I’m increasingly seeing forum posts written into books like this and while sometimes they add to the story, I didn’t feel that was the case here.
This aside, it was a flawless read I didn’t want to put down. It had a more serious, grown up tone than some chick lit. I don’t mean it was boring or dull, because it was neither, just that it seemed more intellectual than some, more substantial, and less as if my brain cells were jumping ship in disgust every time I picked it up. It’s the life stage after stalking and snaring Mr Right and this made for much more well rounded characters who seemed less superficial (Sophie’s shopping obsession aside). If standard chick lit is a fast food burger, then this is a Kobe steak: the same basic ingredients and idea, but delivered to much higher quality and far more satisfying.
Thanks go to the publishers for supplying this book.
The Irish lot don't half like stories about sisters, as we found out with The Kinsella Sisters by Kate Thompson. If it's babies rather than sisters you like, then The Two Week Wait by Sarah Rayner and Babies In Waiting by Rosie Fiore get the thumbs up too.
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