Thursday, June 16, 2011

Sisterhood Everlasting

By Ann Brashares

Four Things I Liked About Sisterhood Everlasting:
1. Reuniting with old fictional friends
2. Location, location, location
3. Getting it right
4. Quick, enjoyable Atlas Shrugged detox

I am kind of perplexed as to why this book exits. Why did Ann Brashares feel the need to forcibly extend a series that had already reached a satisfyingly open-ended conclusion? Especially when this new book doesn’t appear to have been written with a specific audience in mind: It’s not really an appropriate companion novel for the first four, being very much an adult novel, not young adult as they were; nor will it appear to adult readers who haven’t read the original (young adult) series.  And especially when continuing the series meant XXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Well, I can’t tell you what it meant, because that would ruin a crucial plot point and element of surprise in the book. And I hate plot ruiners! (Ruiners can be a word if I say it is.) Suffice to say that something BIG and (in relation to the first four books, and in my opinion) unnecessary goes down in order to pave the way for this fifth installment.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series was a fixture on my teen and preteen bookshelf, right next to The Princess Diaries and Bloody Jack. So despite some exasperation with Ann for continuing the series in an obvious ploy to reach out to her old (and probably somewhat diminished since the series “ended”) readership, I must admit I was pretty pleased by the prospect of reuniting with Lena, Tibby, Carmen, and Bridget. And, in spite of XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, I was not disappointed.

As it says on the cover, Sisterhood Everlasting picks up 10 years after Forever in Blue left off. Not that much has changed. Sure, Carmen is a successful TV actress living in New York and engaged to be married to a TV producer, Bridget is living with Eric in San Francisco, and Tibby moved with Brian to Australia two years ago, while Lena – ever static – hasn’t left Providence or RISD but has taken a professorship there and continues to pine after Kostos, but the problems they’re facing are virtually just slightly grown up versions of what they dealt with before. They’ve also felt steadily more out of sync ever since they all scattered on the winds after losing their lease on the flat they shared in New York after graduation. Good thing Tibby sends them all tickets out of the blue for an impromptu reunion trip to Greece! Or so they think. It turns out XXXXXXXXXXXXXX happens in Greece and turns their already precariously organized lives topsy-turvy. In the aftermath, the girls struggle to come to terms with XXXXXXXXXXXXXX, each other, and themselves.

The danger of writing a book like Sisterhood Everlasting is tying up satisfyingly loose ends into too neat of knots. Fortunately, Sisterhood Everlasting frays enough more ends to require plenty of its own re-tying. (Whether those ends really needed fraying is another discussion.) As I said, one of the best things to recommend this book is the prospect of once again enjoying the company of Lena, Tibby, Carmen, and Bridget. So although the end (predictably) comes together pretty neatly and as a stand alone novel this would only merit about 3 stars, as long you’re a fan of the series, I’m pretty sure you’ll enjoy the trip down memory lane.

Comment Questions:
1) If you’ve read the series, which sister was your favorite, or which did you most identify with? Mine was Lena, as much as her inertia frustrated me.
2) Will you read Sisterhood Everlasting, or are you over this series?

Books Read This Year: 51
Top 100 Progress: 44/100


  1. AnonymousJune 19, 2011

    so i came across your blog while searching for an answer to a question i had about this novel...and i ended up reading a few of your reviews and enjoying them. i hope that's not terribly creepy :/
    anyway, i suppose i can ask my question here: why do you think brashares decided to do XXXXXXX? I mean it was wonderfully done and certainly helped the story along and made everything else seem all the more beautiful in its tragedy but it was also incredibly heartbreaking!
    and in response to your questions:
    1. i have always (and still do!) identified with lena the most. when i was younger, i aspired to be more like her. however, the sections of the novels i most enjoy reading is bridget because of her intense lovability and unpredictability. bridget's character is perpetually experiencing change and it seems like the end product can never be expected though her personality remains the same.
    2. when i first heard brashares was publishing another book in the series, i was horrified, convinced that she was merely doing it in order to relive her old days of glory. i was sure the girls would still act like teenagers, just in adult bodies. however, i was pleasantly surprised. while brashares' story is terribly sad, it also does a good job of tying up loose ends (though the fourth book had done a pretty good job).it was nice to see the girls all grown up, and while dealing with many of the same issues, they were at least able to make mature decisions and appeared to really grow as characters in this last novel. i enjoyed revisting these old friends of my memories.

  2. Not creepy at all! I love it.

    I suppose my hypothesis as to why Brashares did XXXXXXXXXXX is simply that it was an impetus for the plot. But as to why she chose that particular impetus, I think it's because it allowed her to have the girls question their bond in a way they never quite have before. In the other four books, no matter what other upheavals the girls experienced, they were always sure of each other. XXXXXXXXXXX made them question that safety net, and even more than that, question their past and their future as a sisterhood, what they are and what they've ever been to each other, as well as who they are themselves if their sisterhood is not what they thought it was.

    I actually completely agree with your answer to the first question! I identified more with Lena, but Bridget was more fun to read - maybe because she is everything I am not. Wouldn't you love just half her verve? (Not to mention the hair!0

  3. I also came across your blog randomly as I was blogging about Sisterhood Everlasting. I like your format with the notes at the beginning and questions at the end!

    I also identify most with Lena and find it interesting that both you and anonymous do too. Why is that? Because we are book people?