A Gift for My Sister
May 1, 2012
May 1, 2012
Ann Pearlman's The Christmas Cookie Club enthralled readers everywhere with a heartwarming and touching story about the power of female friendship.
Now, in A Gift for My Sister, she once again explores the depth of the human heart, and this time it’s through the eyes of two sisters. Tara and Sky share a mother, but aside from that they seem to differ in almost every way. When a series of tragedies strikes, they must somehow come together in the face of heartbreak, dashed hopes, and demons of the past. The journey they embark on forces each woman to take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine what sisterhood really means to them. It’s a long road to understanding, and everyone who knows them hopes these two sisters can find a way back to each other.
This book was a tumultuous ride for me. The book starts out with Sky waking because she can’t sleep past a certain time due to the death of her best friend Mia. This awoke cords in me because I too wake at a certain time every morning due to deaths. I kept reading and my world just went topsy, turvy. Sky had lost 3 pregnancies, I too had lost 3 twin pregnancies in the span of one year and I knew the heart felt pain that losing those pregnancies cost me, so right away I was sucked kicking and screaming into Sky’s life. Then to make matters worse her husband has this boil on his back and winds up sick. My husband luckily only had the flu but I had to put the book down and go “oh no, this is so not happening.” Once my darling husband was well again and I lived thru the ridicule of him saying Chris it’s just a book it is NOT your life, I continued bravely on. Only to once again put the book down while practically in tears saying I wouldn’t want to live if this happened to me. So without going into more detail than that, because I truly don’t want to give the story away, I will say this READ THIS BOOK!
We have two sisters who are diametrically opposed on pretty much everything. Sky is the “perfect child” at least in Tara’s eyes. Tara meanwhile is the hellion, the one who needs no one. But BOTH girls have scars that run so deep inside them from their own childhood. Sky’s father passed away suddenly when she was just a child, her mother remarried (the wrong man), Tara was born and almost immediately Tara’s father was out of the picture, because he was a cheat. Tara winds up being the strong one in this book, the one who helps her sister deal with all the tragedies that have been thrown in her path. Tara helps her sister and in return Sky gets an inside look at Tara’s life and the daily prejudices she must deal with. The thing is this author has hit upon the very things that children deal with even as adults. Sky resented her sister because her sister still had a father, even an absentee father is still a father. Tara meanwhile envied her sister because she was allowed to go out, have sleep overs, wear make-up and all the other things younger siblings envy older ones. Tara also was jealous of the relationships Sky had with her husband. Something she herself cannot seem to do with her longtime boyfriend and “baby daddy”. Tara is ALWAYS looking over her shoulder for the woman who will steal her man away from her and she can’t fully open herself up to Aaron, even though he loves her fully.
Pearlman did a wonderful job reenacting what would happen should two such people be suddenly thrust together. Their forced time together leads to some very interesting and intense interactions, the anger comes out in odd times and this in turn leads to such strong acts of kindness and understanding and compassion that we the reader are literally in their lives.
I can say one thing about 60% into the book I was doing some serious yelling at the books Author in my head and saying if you kill off one person so help me god I’m going to scream! I truly did have a unique bond with Sky due to my own personal life and tragedies. And I have also a keen understanding of where they live since I lived in Flint Michigan for many, many years. I can understand the bigotry and racism that Tara and Aaron must deal with and the fears they have for their son Levy.
I have to say one thing I truly enjoyed her thoughts that you should love regardless, not to the destruction of yourself, but in spite of yourself. I will say I felt the story had far too much death in it for my own personal tastes, but that could once again be due to my own life and the pure number of deaths that have happened in our family in the last 2 years.
I also can say truthfully that while I didn’t “enjoy” this read I did enjoy the ending and I did enjoy the fact that it wasn’t a true story. I also can say I did enjoy the way the author looked at the exact same space in time through BOTH sisters’ eyes by breaking it into separate chapters unique to each sister. So while you had read something just seconds before it took on a whole new depth when you saw how the other sister saw the same situation. This is indeed what I always believed that BOTH sides of a story must be told for a person to know what honestly happened, because somewhere in the middle is where the truth of the situation lies.
This book was a fabulous mix of past and present and told in such a manner that you never wondered. The sisters travel along their paths merging and separating until these paths finally merge to show just how close a bond there is with sisters, and that family is there for you when you need it.
Pearlman did a fabulous job on character creation and you feel as if the characters are actual family members or friends. The emotions this author can pull from you is amazing and the love that the sisters have for their children shines on through the darkest of times. The pain, the suffering, the laughter and the love are all shared by the reader and I praise Pearlman for her wonderful job of sucking me into the story.
This story is sentimental, and full of conflict, it is about life’s hardships and how the two sisters can deal with these hardships to become closer. It is a story about sisters and family, loss and abandonment, love and most of all forgiveness. I can recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind reading about life’s hardships or a book that can and will spark a dozen different thoughts and emotions. While it was a rough ride for me personally since my own personal tragedies were far too close to those suffered by Sky, I can still honestly say I think this is what I classify as a must read.
Details/Disclaimer: Review copy was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. The free book held no determination on my personal review.