Book Review: Sisterland

Sisterland CoverBook: Sisterland by Curtis Sittenfeld

Sisterland will be published by Random House on June 25, 2013|Expected Number Of Pages: 352

Series: None

Genre: Adult Fiction- Chick Lit

Goodreads|Curtis Sittenfeld’s Website

I received Sisterland as an e-ARC from netgalley.com in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

Goodreads Summary: From an early age, Kate and her identical twin sister, Violet, knew that they were unlike everyone else. Kate and Vi were born with peculiar “senses”—innate psychic abilities concerning future events and other people’s secrets. Though Vi embraced her visions, Kate did her best to hide them.

Now, years later, their different paths have led them both back to their hometown of St. Louis. Vi has pursued an eccentric career as a psychic medium, while Kate, a devoted wife and mother, has settled down in the suburbs to raise her two young children. But when a minor earthquake hits in the middle of the night, the normal life Kate has always wished for begins to shift. After Vi goes on television to share a premonition that another, more devastating earthquake will soon hit the St. Louis area, Kate is mortified. Equally troubling, however, is her fear that Vi may be right. As the date of the predicted earthquake quickly approaches, Kate is forced to reconcile her fraught relationship with her sister and to face truths about herself she’s long tried to deny.

Funny, haunting, and thought-provoking, Sisterland is a beautifully written novel of the obligation we have toward others, and the responsibility we take for ourselves. With her deep empathy, keen wisdom, and unerring talent for finding the extraordinary moments in our everyday lives, Curtis Sittenfeld is one of the most exceptional voices in literary fiction today.

Sisterland…it was an okay read.  Sisterland is another book that I wanted to like, but didn’t.

I didn’t find either sister particularly compelling.  That combined with me not being sure what the story was supposed to be about led to Sisterland being okay.

Every chapter starts off with the present, and that led to Kate’s past, which focuses on her relationship with her sister and Kate hiding her abilities.  I get that Kate’s past relationship with her sister has a HUGE impact on her relationship with her sister in the present, and that I, as the reader, needed to know Kate’s past in order to understand Kate in present time, but it was also something I didn’t like.  I found myself get bored reading about Kate’s life before Violet’s prediction.  And since a lot of the book focused on Kate, it was hard to like Violet because we only saw her through Kate’s eyes.  It was also hard to like Kate.  Kate is definitely a character who is very real and intricate, but for me, Kate was a little too complex.  I found that Kate’s constant worrying and anxiety was really irritating and by the end of the book, I was really tired of it.

I think my major issue with Kate is because of the random, out-of-the-blue affair she has with one of her best friends towards the end of the book.  It didn’t seem like either of them.  It felt really forced, and while you could make the argument that not all earthquakes are literal (or something along those lines), I’m not completely sure what the point of it was.  Was it something that was going to happen anyway, or was it something set in motion by Kate’s insistent that the earthquake was going to happen on a specific date while also refusing to leave St. Louis when the earthquake was going to hit?

I thought there was too much going on.  There’s flashbacks, and present time, and all sorts of other issues throughout the book, and it was hard to care when there was so much to think about and focus on.

Final Thoughts:

Sisterland was okay.  I felt like Sisterland got bogged down in the past, and I didn’t find the characters particularly compelling.  It’s definitely a good book for a book club, because there is quite a bit you could discuss, but unfortunately, Sisterland didn’t do anything for me.  Sisterland gets 2 stars.

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