Sister, Sister

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Book: Sister, Sister

Pages: 360 (page 361 is short acknowledgment. Pages 363-365 is the Author’s note. Author also includes “Book Club Questions” pages 367-368)

Author: Sue Fortin

“One lost One Lied”

I was walking through a local store while grocery shopping and sent a quick message home to see if there was anything else we needed while waiting I stopped by the book section just to see what all they had. Usually, I don’t buy my books where I buy my week/month’s worth of groceries but this book caught my eye. I read the back cover and part of the first few pages and was instantly hooked! I took a risk and bought the book. As soon as I cracked this bad boy open it was impossible to put down! I have a sister of my own and this book called to me.

“Sometimes the coldest places are not in the midst of winter, when your breath puffs white, your feet are numb from the cold and your fingers stiff and frozen. Sometimes the coldest places are in the warmth of your own home, surrounded by your family.” (Page 1)

The author has included “Book Club Questions” and I want to answer those and finish the review after that.

“Book Club Questions:”

1. Why was Marion so eager to accept Alice into the family? What emotions and thoughts affected her decision?

A: Marion had no reason to doubt Alice, no one warned Marion to take things slowly or cautiously like Luke warned Clare. Any mother in her position would have done the same thing. I would be devastated if I lost my child or if the father took my child away from me. I’d do anything to find my baby. Marion was very happy to know her child was alive and eager to reconnect after all those years. She was desperate to make up for lost time and to be accepted by her own daughter because she had no idea what her father had said all those years while they were gone.

2. Is the bond between a mother and daughter/sister and sister strong enough to withstand a separation of twenty years?

A: That’s a tough question. If there was no known bond other than blood relation, to begin with, I don’t think the bond is strong enough to withstand 20 years of separation without some sort of struggle to reunite. A parent will always feel love for their children no matter what and if a child has grown to know its parents, the child will feel the same. However, if a child has been lain to and deceived its whole life about who its real parents are, such as a victim of kidnapping, they won’t have the same outlook on the parents until they learn the truth. The child thinks the fake parent is perfect or awesome until the day the truth is uncovered and then the child is wreaked. They have to do their best to rebuild their life from the day the truth is uncovered. So basically, if a small child is unaware of the bond or that someone/something is missing, 20 years away from it doesn’t impact them until the truth is uncovered.

3. If a stranger came into your life purporting to be your long-lost sister, how would you react?

A: I actually do have an older sister, the oldest of my mother’s children, who was put up for adoption. I’ve never met her, no one else in my family has met her. (To my knowledge that is.) These days, I’d be skeptical. So many people find out there is money in the balance and claim to be a long-lost relative to claim that money. I would be interested to get to know them but I doubt I’d ever immediately give money without some proof of DNA and loyalty. Why, all of a sudden now, when money is entered into the equation do you show up seeking a reunion? I’d be skeptical, but I’d also be excited and hopeful. I’d want things to go smoothly of course and I’d still be sad if things did end poorly.

4. Clare was a successful career woman, while Luke was the stay-at-home parent. Do you think it makes a difference to the child who their prime-carer is?

A. Absolutely not. Not one bit. The child will always seek attention from the parent who is not around more often (due to work, etc.) However, as long as the parent that is at home is loving, kind, and attentive then it doesn’t matter if it is mom or dad. I believe there have been movies here recently where they joke on the Mr.Mom role and make it seem like the child feels “less than” due to it being the dad at home instead of mom. In real life, children love their parents and just want to have their parents around. The role each parent plays is not relevant as long as the home is full of love. As long as both parents are active in one way or another in the children’s lives that’s all that matters.

5. Do you think mothers experience more guilt towards their children when they work full-time than the father does?

A: I believe it’s in a mother’s nature to feel guilty if they work full-time and miss those precious moments with their babies. Society has pushed for old-fashioned traditions where dad works full-time and mom is the homemaker. Lately, most of us don’t have the choice for a one income household, therefore, both parents have to work, even if one is only working part-time. However, there are women who are very passionate about the work they do, and they choose to work. That doesn’t mean they won’t still miss their babies while they are gone during the day. I do believe they experience more guilt towards their children when they work full-time than the father does. If I compare my mother to my father, the roles they played in my life were completely different. My mother would have loved to be a stay at home mom while her babies were young. She also loves working full-time.

6. Do you think grand-parents make as good carers for their grandchildren as the parents do? Does the child really mind who looks after them, as long as they are cared for and loved?

A: Honestly, I believe it depends on the grandparents. One grandma of mine, I loved spending all my time with her because we could just talk for hours as if it was nothing. The other grandma, I could play with her for a few hours but was very ready to go home as soon as possible. I love both of my grandma’s, always have and always will. Kids have the people they prefer to watch them because they are more fun or cook better or for whatever reason they seem fit. Please keep in mind, it’s not about what the child wants when it comes to what is best for them. Just because they like Grandma A more than Grandma B, doesn’t mean that Grandma A is best for the kid. They might like Grandma A because she lets them drink unlimited soda, eat all the candy and cookies they want, and play with matches. Obviously, the children would like the pushover grandma more than the one with rules. Kids do want to feel love and to be nurtured if everyone treats the kids with love and kindness, then it’s probable that they won’t care who actually watches them. 

7. Do you think Clare was right not to tell Luke about the final email from Tom and the consequences? Is this fair to Luke and, indeed, to Hannah?

A: I was so unsure of how I felt about that! I just imagined what I would do in that situation and with everything that came out in the end, I didn’t see why she felt the need to hide that. I didn’t understand her logic behind hiding it and not confiding in her husband in her time of need. With Tom being in the position he was at the end of the story, I couldn’t see why she wouldn’t be open and honest with Luke. Unless I misread the part where it was originally brought up. My belief was that both Tom and Luke were aware of Clare’s “dream.” I assumed that it was Clare and Luke who actually had the discussion of the dream and then somehow Tom was informed of the dream’s existence. I would have done differently than she did, I would also like to know why she kept it a secret. I know what she feared, but he even stated at the beginning of “all hell breaking loose” that he was not her father. I think communication would have been best.

8. In the end, do you think Martha was sorry for her deception?

A: No. The phone call records prove she wasn’t sorry. The only reason she did what she did, in the end, is because she didn’t want to be caught and Tom did a great job at proclaiming her life would be over if the truth ever came out. Martha did not have the knowledge that both Clare and Tom had in the extent of laws and justice so it would have been very easy for Tom to convince Martha that worse would happen if she ever came clean. There were too many chances for Martha to come clean and fix her mess, she chose not too for selfish reasons.

9. How do you think Marion and Clare will feel going forward knowing they will never be reunited with Alice?

A: Well way to ruin the ending for everyone else! I think they will be forever sad on the topic. However, I believe Clare will feel at peace knowing that her sister is at peace now. I believe she will handle it better than her mother Marion. Marion, Alice’s mother, will always feel that emptiness that she never got to re-meet her daughter. She never got to hug her and love her, she never got that second chance. However, with the way things ended, it may help to have an ending. To finally be done with everything one way or another.

That’s all the questions from the “Book Club Questions.”

There isn’t much left to say, I believe the questions went over a lot. I believe I found a few typos in the book when I say few, I mean maybe two. There was a ‘can’ when I’m sure it was supposed to be ‘can’t’ but that happens, how many books have I written? None. So I’m not judging, it’s bound to happen. I’m sure this article/review here will have more errors than a full book.

When I started the book it only took two sittings to finish it. It would have been only one sitting if I didn’t have fourth of July plans that interrupted the amazing book. It was addicting and enticing from the moment you start. I was trapped immediately and didn’t even want to stop! I do need to warn you though if you get anxiety from reading, then this will be one of those books that cause anxiety. There is so much that goes wrong, there is so much that happens that in the end, you feel this pit inside your stomach. However, with everything that goes on, it’s organized and well-placed all the way to the end. I kept getting angry when things didn’t work out for Clare. I wanted to yell at Luke throughout the story, and I was almost hurt by his choices and his words.

I’ll end the review with this beautiful quote:

“Sometimes the darkest places are not in the pitch black of the night, when the moon is clouded over. Or when you close your eyes and track the sparks of colour dancing behind your eyelids. Sometimes the darkest places are when your eyes are wide open. When the sun shines brightly and the dust motes float in the beams of light.” (Page 360)

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