Sunday, September 11, 2016

Book Review: The Space Between Sisters

I often wonder if sisters who are very similar get along better than sisters who are very different. For my own experience, I am very different from my younger sister and we haven't always gotten along well. Thus, I am drawn to books about the sister relationship. I suppose part of me wants clues for improving my relationship with my sister. Part of me is just curious to see how other sisters (and sister characters) relate to one another.

The Space Between Sisters, by Mary McNear, is a story of two very different sisters. Poppy, the older sister, is stunning and spontaneous, disorganized and directionless. Win, short for Winona, is the more mature of the two, staid and structured, dependable and deliberate. When Poppy loses her job at the start of summer, she decides to move in with her sister to live in their grandparent's cabin on Butternut Lake in Minnesota. Friction inevitably follows as the two sisters settle into a comfortable routine of living together. Poppy brings along her cat, Sasquatch, even though Win is allergic. Poppy cannot understand Win's inability to let go of the past or her constant constructions of shrines to her deceased husband. Win, in the meantime, is frustrated with Poppy's frivolous attitude toward responsibility, her casual and non-committed string of relationships with men, and her unwillingness to function as an adult.

It is clearly a case of each sibling being unable to see things from the other person's perspective. Poppy may have her shortcomings, but her past holds the key to many of these character flaws. Win may have trouble moving on, but her relationship with her husband was one of the few really good things in her life up to that point. What follows is a tender story of two dissimilar girls struggling to get along and to settle into their respective lives. Since the book takes place in the summer, it makes an appropriate vacation read. There are more books in the Butternut Lake series, but I don't think I was drawn enough by this easy, predictable read to seek them out.

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