Ethics & A Book Review: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfield

Ethics & A Book Review: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfield
Ethics & A Book Review: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfield

I finished an entire book at Barnes & Noble on Sunday. Start to finish. An entire book.

My car was getting an oil change and they warned it’d be awhile because they were really backed up, so I sauntered over to B&N. I grabbed the newest book from one of my favorite authors and melted into one of those cozy chairs next to the round fireplace. Other Barnes & Noble locations have fireplaces right? It’s not just Fairbanks?

Oh man. It was so good. Curtis Sittenfeld never disappoints and her new book, Sisterland was no exception.

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The story follows two identical twin sisters and the intriguing psychic abilities they were born and have lived with their entire lives. The book is narrated by only one of the sisters, Kate, and bounces between the past and present. From growing up together, to drifting apart, and how they ended up where they are now. It’s an intriguing story that keeps you turning pages for more and more background to their present situation.

My favorite part of Sisterland is that the climax the reader thinks is building throughout the book shifts dramatically when it’s reached. The plot changes in a few short seconds, and I loved that there was hardly any foreshadowing of this event. I’m not a huge fan of predictability. Sittenfeld is a natural story teller so the book is enjoyable throughout the first three fourths, but when I hit the OH MY GOD moment, I could not put it down. I poured through the last quarter of the book with ferocity.

Like Sittenfeld’s other books – Prep, American Wife – I was left with a content, yet unsettled feeling when I reached the end. Not in the way that anything was left unsaid. Sittenfeld ties up all loose ends. The ending isn’t very happy; although it’s not necessarily sad either. It’s realistic. It’s a contentment despite a nagging feeling. It’s life.

This book has my full recommendation for anyone who enjoys a good fiction story about family! The paranormal part of it isn’t as big of a deal as the familial relationships, so if you’re solely interested in magic or paranormal – this won’t be for you. Another great review if you need further convincing can be found on NPR’s website.

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So 3.5 hours of reading later, and I had finished the book.

I reached an interesting predicament when I finished so quickly. I hadn’t bought the book. My intention was to sit down for 2 hours, maybe get half way through the book and then buy it on the way out to go get my oil-changed car.  But I was done, and it was unpaid for, so I lingered in the chair debating my options.

1. Buy the book because it was the right thing to do
2. Buy a different book because then I still bought an item, but read two books for the price of one
3. Buy a drink or baked good to pretend I’m a half-way decent person
4. Return the book and leave the store silently

To no one’s surprise who has ever known me in the history of my life….

I bought the book.

I’m a terrible liar and I get guilt gut for days about the silliest things. I’ve broken school rules and certain laws that society considers suggestions *cough* underage drinking *cough*, but I couldn’t ethically put the book back and leave the store with no purchases. And purchasing a different book or even a coffee would only make me feel guilty for getting a two-for-one deal.  To avoid all red faced, stammering, guilty conscious, stomach churning situations – I just bought the damn book.

It has now been added to our growing collection that I hope to turn into a lovely library at our next home, but is currently crammed into a free standing, overflowing bookcase.

Oh, and my car took 5 hours. After leaving Barnes and Noble, I had my husband pick me up. We went out for sushi and went shopping. It was a lovely, productive Sunday despite the oil change struggles.

Camille Mae (2)

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