Thursday, June 6, 2013
Book Review: Sisterland, by Curtis Sittenfeld
Kate and Violet are identical twins, and they both have “senses,” or psychic gifts. Violet embraces her gift, drops out of college, and pursues a career as a medium. Kate wants nothing to do with her “senses,” and hides them away behind a traditional lifestyle as a college graduate, a wife and mother. With Kate as the narrator of Sisterland, we learn that she believes she is the “normal” twin, while her bisexual, New Age sister is too “out there.” But when Kate makes an impulsive choice that will potentially upend her family’s world, she begins to realize she is not as perfect or rational as she believes. And when Violet publicly announces that she has foreseen a deadly earthquake in the near future for their hometown of St. Louis, Kate is forced to face her own psychic premonitions, as well as her choice to deny her true self.
Author Curtis Sittenfeld’s depiction of Kate and Violet’s sister relationship is very realistic. They love each other unconditionally even as they struggle to accept each other’s life choices. They constantly push each other away and yet always find their way back to each other. Despite Violet’s eccentricities, she is endearing and fun. And though Kate’s lifestyle and attitudes are probably more the “norm,” she sometimes comes across as annoying or self-righteous. I often found myself, as a reader, taking sides between the two sisters when a conflict arose. Kate’s husband was obviously a very patient man, but I found his reaction to the book’s final conflict to be a bit unrealistic, although perhaps more interesting than if he’d acted predictably.
Sisterland is a fascinating look at the relationship between identical twin sisters. It is an examination of blood ties and genetics, of choices and destiny, and of finding out who we really are. I couldn’t stop reading about Kate and Violet, and I hope a sequel will show what the future holds for the twins. Learn more about Sisterland and the author at www.CurtisSittenfeld.com.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of this book for review purposes, but all opinions are 100% my own. This post contains my Amazon affiliate link.