Sunday, July 24, 2011

Weird Shakespeare

I read The Weird Sisters this weekend, and I enjoyed it. It's about three sisters (duh), but they are not really all that weird. The title refers to the three witches in Macbeth, and I don't actually think it's a good title for the book, because the sisters aren't anything like the witches, even if you take into account that the earlier word "wyrd" means Fate. (I was going to go off on a little English-teacher lecture there about the connection I think the author was trying to make, but I've decided not to.) Anyway, Rosalind, Bianca, and Cordelia are the daughters of a famous Shakespearean scholar, and they all quote Will whenever possible. Which is quite a bit.

And me being me, that put me in the mood to read some Shakespeare myself. Recently I went to see As You Like It, so I reread that. (I will have to teach Macbeth next semester so I will get plenty of weirdness then.) I felt physically horrible all day, but the play successfully distracted me. And I felt like rather than merely lie on the couch all day, I lay on the couch READING SHAKESPEARE. Clearly I was engaged in a worthwhile activity! Also, it was interesting reading it with a background of the TV shows "Victorious" and "Wipeout" blaring in the background while my children stayed in their pajamas all day eating everything in the house that was not nailed down. My refined culture: let me show you it!

Anyway, even if you do not enjoy reading Shakespeare for fun like all of us cool people, The Weird Sisters is an enjoyable book. All three sisters return home to the sleepy college town they grew up in, each with her own secrets. I know that sounds like every chick lit novel ever, but the author does a good job characterizing Rose, Bean, and Cordy. If I like the characters, I want to find out what's going to happen to them, and this novel didn't disappoint me in that regard. Also, I don't have a sister, so the insight into that relationship was intriguing: the sisters alternate between jealousy and loyalty at the drop of a secret. Yet they also learn that life won't allow them to remain trapped in the same roles they have always assigned themselves in their family.

Here is where I wish I had a perfectly appropriate quote from W.S. to sum up The Weird Sisters. What about this famous one, from As You Like It:

                                            All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.
They have their exits and their entrances,
And each man in his time plays many parts....


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