Sisters One, Two, Three is the first novel by Nancy Star that I’ve read, and I’ll be honest: my first impression was that I didn’t like it and wasn’t going to enjoy the book. The subject matter is emotionally heavy and rather depressing. The main character, Ginger, who takes us through her childhood and adult life, is somewhat irritating. She is always on the look-out for something bad to happen. The writing style wasn’t my favorite, with sentences sometimes feeling choppy and incomplete. All that being said, I ended up reading the first half of this book in one day. So, subject matter, irritating characters, and confusing writing aside, the story itself was intriguing and kept me turning the pages.
It is difficult to discuss this book without giving away any spoilers. I think the reason I found myself so into this book after being initially turned off was because the characters were so well-developed. Ms. Star weaves the past and present together beautifully in this story of a tragic childhood that comes back to haunt an anxiety-riddled adulthood. The characters were very human, each one being flawed in their own way. Ginger and Glory, as much as I wanted to smack them both sometimes, were extremely well-written!
Each character in this book, whether a major or minor player, fits into this story like a puzzle piece into a jigsaw puzzle – without just one piece, you can get the idea, but the big picture is still incomplete. That is a difficult thing for a writer to accomplish, and is something I appreciate as it really turns me off to an author when characters are thrown into a story just to take up space and really offer nothing to the plot.
Despite my initial hesitations with this book, I still find myself thinking about it now that I’ve read it. It really is one of those stories that makes you stop and think. If you enjoy emotionally complex characters who are beautifully flawed, then I suggest you pick up Sisters One, Two, Three and give it a try.
One of my favorite quotes from the book:
“So what. You get a little tongue-tied. Who doesn’t. Talk anyway. And sing. Singing keeps stress away. You must not let yourself get shy about using words.”– Sisters One, Two, Three