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Entries in Ann Brashares (1)

Sunday
Dec042011

Review: Sisterhood Everlasting (Ann Brashares)

 

Sisterhood Everlasting (Ann Brashares) is the concluding novel to the immensely popular Traveling Pants series which documented the lives, and very special friendship, of Lena, Bee, Tibby, and Carmen, four different girls born in the same month. While the earlier books in the series took place in high school and college, this one begins at the cusp of them turning thirty, and the familiar reader will delight in learning about what the girls have been up to ever since they popped up in Forever in Blue.

(Personal review and spoiler alert) A number of reviews on the book complain about how the women have changed and how their stories are not perfect. On the contrary, I was troubled by how much they had not changed or grown up. Of the four, only Carmen and Lena appear to have achieved some sense of career success, but not one of them has had any personal growth. The appeal of the girls in the previous books was in part due to their insight and their particular way of viewing the world. They all had a sense of magic to them–Carmen with her fire, Bee with her fragile yet freewheeling nature, Lena with her introspection, Tibby with her discerning sarcasm–yet in this book those strengths were turned into weaknesses. Carmen has challenged her energy into a seemingly shallow existence, Bee needs to be on the move to the point where she is homeless for some of the book, Lena is practically paralyzed by her fears, and Tibby…well, she is as discerning as ever, but like the girls in the book, the reader wonders how she could have stayed out of touch for so long given their friendship.

Moreover, the reader will find herself truly questioning their friendship. Brashares’ writing is not at fault–the woman makes you want to sink in their world and will convince you it is poignant, beautiful, painful at turns… The writing made me want more and more… But the crux of it is, how beautiful was this beautifully written friendship really, if it did not bring out the best in these girls?

The book ends very tidily with happy endings all around. But given where we left off, and how there was promise there then, one wonders… What happens after the pages end because one can no longer trust that they will make the most of their lives. But perhaps that was what Brashares intended. Real life isn’t tidy, is it? If that is what she meant, then she was effective because this is a story that will linger in one’s head for days to come.