Monday, September 20, 2010

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters by Natalie Standiford - Book Review #84

Monday, September 20, 2010
Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters
by Natalie Standiford

The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . .and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin....

For some reason I expected that this book will be largely dealing with aftermath of confessions. Maybe I thought that the confessions themselves won’t be as interesting as the reactions on these confessions. When I started reading the book, I got the feeling that my initial expectations were wrong, so I flipped through the pages and understood that confessions would be indeed the main focus of the story as the title told me.

When my expectation isn’t met, despite how silly or unreasonable they might be, I’m getting upset. I’m starting to blame the book, the author, even though not in a title, not in a synopsis, not in any interviews with author or publisher there weren’t anything that might have given me a reason for my expectations. And after all, it seems, they are, my expectations, nothing more but my fantasy. Every time it happens to me, I’m trying to be reasonable. After confirming that it wasn’t an author who misled me and indeed it was my fantasy, I’m trying not to take it on a book or on its writer. I’m trying to be objective. I honestly do! Unfortunately, I rarely succeeded.

So imagine my surprise that despite all of this, I ended up liking the book. I even had to admit that the structure Natalie Standiford chose was probably much better for the story then the one I imagined. What I liked the most about Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters was the writing style. First of all, it read like something teenage girls might have written. And second, Natalie Standiford did a great job to define voices of each three Sullivan sisters and to make them distinct. It almost felt like I read three separate books, by three different authors. Each individual voice helped to define each sister. Natalie Standiford didn’t have to tell the reader what temper each sister had, she made it known through how and what that particular sister was talking about.

I also liked the ending of Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters. I will lie if I will say that I didn’t see something among these lines coming, however through the entire story I had doubts that it might end somehow differently.

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters is one of these books that unfortunately will not create a sensation among most of the YA readers, because the real value of the book, not in the flashy characters or unbelievable settings, it is in the writing craft itself and Natalie Standiford is an exceptionally skillful in that.


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