Friday, July 26, 2013


Kate Tucker and Violet Shramm are twins with a special ability to sense things others cannot perceive. Middle school, one of the hardest rights of passage for "normal" kids, instills in Kate (who's real first name is Daisy) a longing to shed the ability that makes her feel like a freak. Her twin, Vi, however begins to embrace the ability...much to Kate's chagrin.

When Violet Shramm, now a grown woman, makes a very public prediction about an impending earthquake in St. Louis, Missouri, the spotlight falls upon Kate's family in a way that forces her to examine her own life. Sisterland is the story of two women as told by one woman coming to terms with who she is and what "family" means. Kate Tucker reflects on adolescent experiences which inform the present day of the novel. What she remembers of childhood, parents, her twin, school, college and dating are all set in the context of her life as a wife, mother, friend, sister and daughter. Sittenfeld does a wonderful job of exposing the inner life of Kate Tucker.

The book made me feel as though I myself had some psychic abilities in that I was able to predict some of the major plot twists well before they occurred. (Who didn't see the October 16 event with Hank coming? or the way Jeremy Tucker resolves things at the end of the novel?) I did like the twist that Kate's assumptions about the origins of the twins' abilities turned out to be mistaken along with the truth she discovers.

The novel kept me engaged and wanting to find out more. Having lived in the St. Louis metro area in 1988, it was fun to see so many place references I was familiar with. All in all, I enjoyed reading Sittenfeld's Sisterland.

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