Skip to main content

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman



I followed the controversy regarding Alice Hoffman's Twitter response to what she considered a spoiler review of her novel The Story Sisters (2009) with interest. Read my blog entry on that topic here.

Then I let the book sit for a while before doing my own reading. I like to form my own opinions, and I knew I was running a 50/50 with this book because when Hoffman is "on," she's the best. When she's not, she's awful.

I put The Story Sisters in the awful category. And I would suggest a different editor for future books because, not only was the story all over the place in a most distracting manner, paragraphs also routinely changed focus at random. So, I can't even say "well-written," not even close. I wouldn't be surprised to learn that this was someone's first novel, even, instead of the product of a very successful veteran author.

From the publisher, as per Barnes & Noble.com:

Her new novel, The Story Sisters, charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go.

What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks.

At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally, redeem them.


To be honest, I didn't feel a whole lot of redemption, and the novel covers an awful lot of very long years from beginning to end. Too little, too late to engage this reader. As for the "love story," please save me from ever experiencing that kind of dysfunctional, self-destructive "love." And to say that I despised Elv and found Claire annoying probably tells you that I lacked a character that I even cared about in the story.

My overall personal rating of The Story Sisters is a C-.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things by Jon McGregor

The May selection for my work book club is Jon McGregor's If Nobody Speaks of Remarkable Things (2002). The novel follows various individuals in one neighborhood on a particular day, an ordinary day that ends with a terrible tragedy.

Here's the short set of questions I e-mailed to book club members yesterday, along with my own responses.

Did you have a favorite character, or one that spoke to you the most? Who and why?
The father with the burned hands is the one who stayed with me the most after reading the book.

Did you notice that the day on which the events unfold is actually the same day that Diana, Princess of Wales, died? Does knowing that make any difference in how you see the story? I wouldn't have made the connection if I hadn't just watched some of the coverage of the Royal Wedding. To quote the author, he chose this particular day because his novel is about how ". . .everyday miracles of life and death go unwitnessed in favor of celebrity and sensati…

Current Little Pleasures

Girls' weekend in Omaha with Maya and her friend.

Happy Buddha:  Sweet Orange and Cedar Shower Foam from RITUALS

Time for iced or blended peppermint mochas.

Shopping for little gifts for Maya's Japanese pen pal.  They were matched through their schools, and we're hoping she can stay with us for a few days this summer.

The flock of wild turkeys, foxes, and other assorted wildlife entertaining us this fall.

Thanksgiving plans to visit my sister.

Hallmark Channel's Countdown to Christmas is back!

Current Little Pleasures

Christmas Keepsake Week, July 14-23, filled with Christmas movies on the Hallmark Channel.

Sending Christmas (in July) cards with a Peace greeting to some of my favorite people.  Why not??

Scott Tube Free Toilet Paper--nothing to recycle.

Haagen-Dazs Coffee Ice Cream--always!

Baby Driver movie.

Seeing photos from my sisters and niece on Facebook during their Italy trip.  I can't imagine they will want to come back home!

What are your current little pleasures?