Tuesday, August 14, 2007


I was very fortunate to spend the evening with two of my sisters—shopping. In fact, one of my coworkers commented today on how lucky I am to have sisters. She has a mother and a daughter—but no sister. I cannot imagine such a life.

"I could never love anyone more than I love my sisters." It is a relationship so wonderful I cannot imagine living without it. As such, I have a particular fondness for literary sisters:

  • The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: Okay, the characters in this series are not sisters. But they do their darndest to fill that sisterless void (although, come to think of it, several of the characters do have biological sisters). I enjoy—but do not love—this series. The major flaw of these books is that not all four characters are equally as interesting. I find Carmen so petulant she loses all my sympathy, and I care little about Tibby’s movies. Because I’m a romantic at heart, all I really want to read about is Lena and her Greek love and Bridget and her soccer camp conquest.

  • The Brontë Sisters: This isn’t exactly a book, but the Brontë sisters are the prime example of literary sisterhood. The five Brontë sisters had a profound influence on each other. Even though they died as children, Charlotte’s two older sisters inspired the relationship between Jane Eyre and Helen Burns. Emily and Anne wrote together as children and created a prolific series of juvenilia that was a precursor to their later works.

  • Pride and Prejudice/Sense and Sensibility/Emma/etc. etc.: Name a Jane Austen novel, and you have a book about sisters. Of course, as is true with life, the relationships are not always idyllic. Elizabeth Bennett has an abundance of silly sisters—but she also has Jane, her kindred spirit. Elinor and Marianne Dashwood do not always see eye-to-eye; but, ultimately, their love for each other is firm. Even spoiled Emma Woodhouse has an older sister.
  • Little Women: This book, of course, is the epitome of literature about sisters. Although I love the book—and several movie adaptations—I find it almost too painful to enjoy. Like Jo March, I have three sisters. The thought that I might lose one of my sisters, the very idea that we might be separated by death, is unbearable. Even typing the words brings tears to my eyes.
I have concluded that when I have children, I must have at least two girls. I would never want my children to miss out on the opportunity to have sisters.


Wanna-Be Lit said...

Oh, that is the most tender blog I've ever read. And I'm not being sarcastic. It's a good thing I've got three daughters so that they will all have sisters.

notaconnoisseur said...

I am writing with tears in my eyes. The greatest joy in my life has been my four daughters. Don't tell the boys that. Growing up with my sister was difficult although we are good friends in our "old" age. It has always been a wonder to me that my daughters have been friends despite the distance apart some of them are in age. Beth's death in Little Women was probably my first experience with deep empathy for fictional characters. I still love Beth and Jo after all of these years. And I cannot imagine the real pain of losing a young sister/daughter as they did.