Friday, October 22, 2010

In Her Shoes: Sisters & Chick Lit

     I co-moderate a book club with another woman on the social networking site, Goodreads. We thought our chick lit book of the month for November would best fit the theme of family; as in, “we are so grateful for family at this time of Thanksgiving”. Interestingly enough, it would seem that most of the suggestions (at least) that came in were on sisters, more specifically than just “Family”. Of course, maybe it’s just harder to figure out what and who a novel is about from titles, covers and summaries, alone. Nonetheless, sisters have inspired Chick Lit writers since the beginning.

     For example, the novel Summer Sisters by Judy Blume, despite its title, is not about sisters but actually it’s about best friends who are so close (especially when they share their summers) that they consider themselves sisters. Then again, I would never deny someone the title of “sister” based on purely biological evidence.

     Some of the more famous sisters in contemporary chick lit novels, include the four Walsh sisters in Marian Keyes’ four-book series, each using one sister for its main focus; Becky Bloomwood’s long-lost half-sister, Jess, as revealed in Shopaholic number four, appropriately titled Shopaholic & Sister; The Smart One and the Pretty One’s Ava and Lauren, a story in which Claire LaZebnik shows how a pair of sisters might have been defined by opposites but a lost contract might bind them together, giving the sisters an opportunity to learn just how similar they actually are; Elisabeth Robinson’s The True and Outstanding Adventures of the Hunt Sisters describes the bond between Olivia and Maddie as they deal with some of life’s hardest lessons; finally, Jennifer Weiner’s In Her Shoes depicts the story of sisters, Rose and Maggie, who sometimes get along and sometimes, just don’t.

      So many people have sisters. They are the women we call in times of distress, the ones we call on in times of celebration. They are the ones we lean on when we get fired from a great job or the one we love packs up and leaves. They are the ones we want next to us on the night of our 30th birthday and to stand next to, tall and beautiful, in our wedding procession. We might fight with her and make up with her later. She could be a best friend, a mother, a daughter or a real “sister”, but at the end of the day, she is the one you cherish the most.

     What does sister mean to you? Do you have a sister? If so, what kind of relationship do you have? Can you think of any sisters in the fiction you read? (Or nonfiction too)? Do you have any “favorite” sisters in literature? Share here!

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