Marion Marchetto's Reviews > The Story Sisters

The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman
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Aug 19, 2011

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What would you do for the love of your sister or brother? Alice Hoffman takes us on a journey into the minds of three sisters who are so close as children that they have created a fantasy world where no others are allowed. This world is the creation of the oldest sister, Elv, who rescues her youngest sibling from probably child molestation by taking shoving her out of a moving car and taking her place. When she is released she keeps it all inside herself, vowing to keep both her sisters safe from the demons that inhabit the real world.

Elv and her sisters are the products of divorced parents. Annie, their mother, thinks she has a close bond with the girls but sadly knows nothing of their fantasy world and Elv's private hell.

Elv is driven to sex, drugs, and the dark side in her search for love. Claire, the youngest, who Elv rescued from being a victim, watches this downward spiral. She blames herself not only for Elv's fall but also for the deaths of people and animals she loves. Most importantly Claire blames herself for the death of their middle sister, Megan, and vows never again to love another being.

In the end, we watch the lives of the sisters drift apart before they reunite years later. It is a long, intricate journey but one that is skillfully woven by Ms. Hoffman. The characters are believable and vulnerable and I was anxious to see how they would fare. I would have enjoyed getting deeper into the feelings of Claire and learning more of the young Megan. Perhaps even learning about how the actions of the sisters caused their mother to do some of the things she did. Another aspect I would have enjoyed would have been the story of the girls' father and how he viewed his rebellious oldest daughter.

As in other Hoffman novels we are treated to wonderful descriptions of Long Island and New England. The author makes good use of using the seasons to reflect the changing lives of Elv and her family. Another thread, common in many of Hoffman's stories, is the use of black roses to signify the dark side of things.

In all, I didn't like this book as much as Ms. Hoffman's earlier works. There was just something missing, that elusive call to the reader that says, "don't put me down just yet".

The story starts out full of promise but it isn't until the final chapters that the promise is fulfilled. The middle reads like just so many other stories one sees on the nightly news.

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