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As any good Shakespeare fan knows, ol’ Billy Shakes has something to say about pretty much everything: love, thievery, fighting, jail time, death, incest, and every important subject known to man. He also has a penchant for killing characters, but that’s another story.
Shakespeare’s works have inspired artists and writers for generations, including spinoff plays like Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, a comedic twist on Hamlet; there’s also a song by Mumford and Sons, “Sigh No More,” which is comprised entirely of lines from Much Ado About Nothing. But Shakespeare makes appearances in modern literature too, and one of the examples I’m in love with right now is “The Weird Sisters.”
The Weird Sisters, by Eleanor Brown, is a novel about three sisters all named after Shakespearean women. The eldest sister is Rosalind, the middle, Bianca (Bean), and the littlest sister is Cordelia (Cordy). Rosalind is the heroine from As You Like It, Bianca is the little sister in The Taming of the Shrew, and Cordelia is the youngest daughter in King Lear.
The sisters are as alike as they are different, and live up to their names pretty well. Rose is a motherly person, Bianca likes to run around, and Cordy is a little rebellious. The story kicks off by following the sisters’ respective troubles: Rose is having pre-marital disagreements, Bianca has been caught embezzling money for her New York lifestyle, and Cordy is an unmarried, broke town-hopper that’s gotten herself pregnant. We also find out that the girls’ mother has cancer and is fighting for her life. Because of all this, the girls all return home of their own accord, and without each other knowing about their plans to do so. The story follows their escapades while they learn to live together again.
This novel follows the sisters as they learn to love each other like they’ve never done before, reinvent themselves and become adults (though they’re all over twenty-five), and come together for their mother’s sake. Throughout the entire novel, the girls quote Shakespeare like it’s going out of style; their father is a Shakespearean professor, so they’ve grown up with Shakes all of their life. The girls acted out a shortened version of Macbeth (as the infamous Weird Sisters, the three witches in the play) when they were still in elementary school. Consequently, they’re all bookworms and are always taking a book around with them, just like me!
If you’re a fan of Shakespeare, or have sisters or even hard times of your own, “The Weird Sisters” will definitely speak to you. It’s one of those books that you carry around with you long after you finish reading it, like Looking for Alaska and Life of Pi. You can pick it up on Amazon for around ten dollars. I hope you get the chance to read this, and maybe it will give you a new way to look at Shakespeare!