As a new parent, I’ve found myself choosing books that relate to parenthood more and also being more focused on the relationship of parents to their child(ren) in books. Sisterland is a book about psychic tendencies and how they affect a pair of adult twin adult. As is typical in books about twins, they are opposites of one anothe in almost every way, complete with the stereotypical good and bad twin, the former of whom is a mother of two young children.
The story is revolves around twins Vi (Violet) and Kate. Kate is our narrator, a somewhat unreliable one. In the story we learn a lot about Kate’s life, we hear all about her childhood, college experience, several boyfriends and her home life with her husband. We get so many details including how often she’s nursing and that she has three identical vests made up as she doesn’t even have time to coordinate outfits due to raising her three young kids, to the point where I half expected to see her grocery list for one week included.
Vi predicts an earthquake will hit their town in an area of the country where it seems unlikely. Soon she’s achieving fame including national interviews. It’s hard for Kate to be the sister of the twin that made that prediction, especially when her husband chooses to go out of town for a work conference on the predicted day rather than being their for her and her small children.
The book focusses a lot on relationships. We learn how close she was to her sister as a young child, but then how they became less close due to them having psychic premonitions, and the different paths having them took them on. Kate even admits she was born Daisy, a name she abandoned in favor of her middle name to no longer be associated with her sister who was an embarrassment to her at that point in time. Kate distances herself from her premonitions, whereas Vi embraces them to the extent of becoming a professional psychic, albeit one with minimal success for many years.
The book is full of parent and child relationships. We see their parents being rather distant, and two households with a stay at home parent (Kate and her neighbor, Hank being the at home parents). The modern day parent sets will have to make heartbreaking choices, one makes a difficult one that many parents might under the circumstances, but the second makes one that is so ridiculous and so over the top that I feel few parents could even relate in their imaginations. That ridiculous choice, along with how the book handles the prediction and the extent to which it may or may not play out on the predicted day make this book hard to enjoy. Adding that the sheer volume of unneeded details makes this book one I wouldn’t reread or recommend.
Rating – one baby bootie out of five