Posted in General, Liked It

The Weird Sisters

20130610-195945.jpg

Teaser

“What if something had happened?

“Then I’m sure one of the three other able-bodied adults in the house, if not all of you, would have handled it with alacrity.”

Author: Eleanor Brown

Genre: General

Rating: LI

Synopsis:

There is no problem that a library card can’t solve.

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don’t happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they’ve been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.

Bluestocking’s Learned Opinion: Well if there was ever a reason not to name your children after characters in a book, this book shows you. Rose, Bianca, and Cordelia grew up on Shakespeare the way the rest of us grew up on, well, everything else. They identified themselves with the characters for which they were named; they also identified with the three witches in MacBeth. Of course the word weird in this play is really “wyrd” which means fate. These women were desperately trying to escape fate. The problem is that they really didn’t know what their fates were. At the beginning of the book, all the women were trying to live what they saw as their destinies. It didn’t work very well. All of them ended back at home with their parents.

The thing about coming back home is that you come back to take your place in the old family pecking order without considering whether things should stay that way. Most people stay trapped. These three didn’t stay trapped in the family pecking order. They changed and grew.

I disagree that the women “didn’t like each other very much.” Throughout the book, there was example after example of the fact that they did like each other. Sure they exasperated one another, but even best friends do that. I was glad that each of the women were brave enough to move passed their hang ups and make better choices. I have to say Rose irritated me the most. I mean if my fiancé got a good job in England, I’d move there in a heartbeat!!! Shoot my enthusiasm would probably scare him into wondering was he making the right choice.

Ultimately, all the women were crippled by the fact that they were living in their father’s shadow. He was brilliant, no doubt about that. I can understand that. My dad’s side of the family is very educated; I think there are only 3 Ivy League schools that have never had a member of our family grace them with our presence. I definitely felt the pressure when it was time to go to college. (I went to Johns Hopkins if you were wondering.). But for your own sake, you just have to break away and find the beat of your own drum. I think the mom and dad could have made this a lot easier on their children, if they’d been paying more attention.

Advertisements
Posted in Classic, Loved It, Uncategorized

Taming of the Shrew

So if you can’t join ‘em, hate ‘em right!!!  I’m just joking, sort of.  Since I don’t have a Valentine this year, I’ve decided to review a book with a character for those who are feeling a little less than loved today. 
This play is actually set up as a play within a play.  In the first scene we see a Lord bringing a drunk back to his home for a joke.  He has the man dressed up and all of his servants treating him as a noble.  The story the Lord has concocted is that this man has been out of his wits for 7 years.  Once the man wakes up and discovers his “position” a group of actors come in and put on a play…

So Baptista has two daughters, Katherine and Bianca.  Kate is known for her sharp tongue while Bianca is known for being sweet and is therefore the more desired of the two sisters.  Baptista has decided that no one can marry Bianca until Kate is married off first.  Until that point in time, Bianca must have Masters to teach her all the accomplishments.  Of course, Bianca’s many suitors come up with creative ways to court her- they provide the “Masters.” Many of them have their servants pretend to be “them” so that they can pretend to be Bianca’s teacher while secretly wooing her.  Mean while, one Petruccio comes to town, and after hearing of Kate’s infamous temper decides she is the woman for him.  As you can imagine the other men are grateful for their “savior.” He woos Kate by out shrewing her.  As typical of Shakespeare there are switches in identity, borrowing identities, and in general madcap fun!!!!
Through this process we do see glimpses of Kate’s character.  It begs the interesting question of whether Kate is really cursed.  Kate seems like a woman a head of her time.  She is brutally honest and sees the hypocrisy of the women of that day.  Early in the story we see Kate tying her sister up and demanding to know which man her sister truly likes.  Baptista rescues Bianca and reproaches Kate.  But why does Kate tie up her sister.  Is it due to jealousy, or does she suspect her sister is a coquette?  Then Kate meets Petruccio.  Despite her name calling and temper towards him, we see that on her wedding day, Kate is actually distraught by the thought that she is being left at the altar.
Then we have the “taming.” Ok this was a lot more violent than I remembered reading this as a child .  I have to wonder who tamed who?  I mean maybe if the “taming” took like 6 months I’d say that Kate was tamed.  But a week?  I don’t know, I think Miss Kate learned to out play her husband.  I mean the transformation, is kind of night and day.  One day she’s hating what Petruccio is doing; and acting shrewish, then the very next day, she’s successfully playing the game.  Methinks it would have been interesting to see a continuation of this story in five years. 
I think what makes Kate such an interesting character study is the change we see in her sister.  Bianca means white in Italian.  The connotation is Innocence.  Despite her lily white appearance, she acts less than a proper lady.  We see her shamelessly flirting with her “masters.” In fact she seems to be leading on three different men.  Then she elopes with Lucentino (I hope I spelled that right).  Then there is the bawdy humor in which she engages at her own marriage reception. Some how Kate’s breaking the lute over the teacher’s head, pales in comparison to Bianca’s impropriety. 
Anyway, Bluestocking wishes all a Very Happy Valentine’s Day!!!!