Marigold's Reviews > The Story Sisters

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
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May 28, 11

bookshelves: fiction-2000s
Read in May, 2011

I’m typically not a fan of Alice Hoffman nor of magical reality novels. But this one was different. It’s a story about 3 sisters, Elv, Meg & Claire who live with their mom. Something terrible happens to Elv & Claire that changes their lives forever, but knowing that their mom is sad about her divorce, they never tell her. In the absence of appropriate treatment for their trauma, the girls invent a secret world, with its own language, that they spend more & more time in. Over the years, mom & Meg are increasingly left out. Elv turns to risky behavior to cope with her self-hatred – she gets involved with the wrong crowd, takes drugs, drops out of school, & gets sent to reform school where she meets another Bad Boy & falls genuinely in love. Temporarily home with her sisters one day, another tragedy happens. (As I was reading this book, I kept thinking, what more can possibly happen to this poor family – and yes, it’s difficult to read.)

It takes a long time – but ultimately there is redemption for the Story Sisters. I think Hoffman is trying to say that sometimes good people do bad things, & sometimes bad people do good things, & sometimes life just happens. There are some magical things that happen that assist the process – but overall I felt that the girls (women, by the end of the book) were going to struggle through no matter what – because the power of love is stronger than the power of fear & anger.

One thing I loved about this book was the use of animals (pets) as aids to recovery – and the role played by older people who give their love & wisdom to the young women. With pets & grandparent role models, you can’t go wrong!

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