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About My Sisters Paperback – February 15, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Perennial; Reprint edition (February 15, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060522038
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060522032
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,437,102 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Ginsberg is on her way to becoming a professional memoirist: she's penned books on raising a child, her life as a waitress, and now, on her eccentric, close-knit family, focusing on sisterhood. With eloquence, deep feeling and altruism, Ginsberg (Waiting; Raising Blaze) depicts the life of her family through a year of celebrations and crises. Each event unleashes a cascade of memories that circle back, by the end of each chapter, to expose a particular facet of the four sisters' complicated relations with one another and the rest of the family. Ginsberg writes of her youngest sister Deja's ability to cure her driving phobia; Lavendar's talent for getting Ginsberg's son to act responsibly; the exalted position of her brother in a family of girls; the family's competitiveness; and her lifelong intimacy with her sister Maya, with whom she lives: "I never even put `sister' before her name when I talk about her. She is the part of me who is Maya." Ginsberg seems to be answering a math problem: with two parents, five grown children, one grandchild and a varying number of boyfriends, how many different combinations are possible? As parents, children and siblings group and regroup in the complex dance of family relationships, each individual's soul emerges. Quarrels often erupt during the family's frequent get-togethers, but never for a moment will readers doubt their loyalty to one another. Ginsberg's nonfiction is as entertaining as a novel, but its greatest achievement is showing how love is not an emotion but an action, living and growing.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Booklist

Women who don't have sisters, and, of course, men, may never fully understand the extraordinary bond that sisters can have. In another candid, autobiographical, and instructive book, Ginsberg sheds some light on the special relationship that she has with her three sisters in the same manner that she wrote about her life as a waitress in Waiting (2000) and coping with a learning-disabled child in Raising Blaze (2002). While it could never be said that her family was "usual" in any respect--her parents seem to have been the ultimate in free-spirited nomads, while remaining utterly committed to stable family life--there is a closeness and a sense of community among the sisters that many readers will relate to their own sibling relationships. The sisters remain physically and emotionally close to their parents and brother, and they live fairly unconventional lives. Ginsberg succeeds in writing about her family in a manner that is both intimate and objective. Warm, funny, and true, this tribute to sisterhood is well worth reading. Danise Hoover
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

A lifelong lover of books, Debra Ginsberg waited tables for over twenty years to support her other career as a writer, resulting in her first book, "Waiting: The True Confessions of a Waitress." She is also the author of the critically acclaimed memoirs, "Raising Blaze: A Mother and Son's Long, Strange Journey Into Autism" and "About My Sisters." Debra went on to write the novels, "Blind Submission," "The Grift," a New York Times Notable Book for 2008 and winner of the Southern California Independent Booksellers Award for Best Mystery, and "The Neighbors Are Watching." Her most recent novel is "What the Heart Remembers."
For more information, visit Debra at www.debraginsberg.com

Customer Reviews

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Debra Ginsberg allows the reader into her family and makes it a comfortable place to be.
Michelaneous by Michele
It caused me to step back and look at the relationship I have with my own sisters, and made me realize the importance of family and spending time with those you love.
Bookreporter
I have 3 sisters and it was very interesting to read and see what were differences and what were common things.
Amy Dunn

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Michelaneous by Michele on April 5, 2005
Format: Hardcover
"About My Sisters" deserves my highest recommendation. It is well written, funny, insightful and truthful. Mostly, however, it is relatable. Anyone with sisters--make that siblings--will relate to the feelings expressed and the stories told by this gifted author. While her focus is on the relationship(s) between four sisters who have a fifteen-year age spread, it is also about their sole brother, their unique parents and the author's son. It reads a lot like a novel, but I found it so much more enjoyable knowing these are real characters existing in a loving and tight-knit family. I became so interested in them that half way through the book I contacted the author through her website and asked her to identify each character as pictured on book cover of the hardback edition.

The reason I was so interested in them? The author writes with deep respect and a fearless honesty. Every story--even those about arguments--is awash with love. Debra Ginsberg allows the reader into her family and makes it a comfortable place to be. What's truly interesting about that is I don't think I'd be comfortable actually sitting with them during one of their many raucous family gatherings . . . but being the fly on wall was a fun place for me.

I purchased this book because of having similar family dynamics. I, too, am one of four girls in a family with a lone brother--making us five with a ten year spread. Unlike the author, however, I'm not the eldest of the tribe and don't possess her wisdom and knowledge of every phase of the family's changing traits. (I'm number four; however, I'm about the same age as the author AND I have a sister named Debra.) By reading the description of this book I knew immediately it was for me. I wasn't disappointed in the least and read it very quickly.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on April 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Debra Ginsberg, author of WAITING and RAISING BLAZE, successfully and marvelously conveys what it means to be a sister in her latest memoir, ABOUT MY SISTERS. The very title was appealing to me, as I am the youngest of five sisters. I thought I could relate. And I did. It caused me to step back and look at the relationship I have with my own sisters, and made me realize the importance of family and spending time with those you love. It is because of this that I couldn't put the book down.
Tracking the course of a year in the lives of her three sisters, who only live ten minutes apart, Ginsberg eloquently follows their relationships with each other, Ginsberg's son, parents and one brother. Through birthday parties, family gatherings, changes in careers and dilemmas with boyfriends and each other, Ginsberg brilliantly expresses the union they share as sisters and friends.
Being the oldest sister, Ginsberg begins by telling of her relationship with her younger sister, Maya, moving from country to country and state to state with their nomadic parents. Because of this, a bond was formed between them that is described by Ginsberg so well: "I never even put 'sister' before her name when I talk about her. She is the part of me who is Maya." She then discusses the birth of each sibling after and how the family dynamic adjusted as their birth order was changed. Each sister has a special role in the family and shares a unique bond with one another that is not like any other connection possible --- whether with a parent or friend.
Immediately pulling readers into the story, Ginsberg's memoir reads more like a novel. Her ability to bring you into her family, as if you are a silent viewer on the sidelines of her life, is exceptional.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Maran on March 6, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I, for one, don't have a sister, but I couldn't stop turning the pages of this gorgeously written, poignant, funny, and thought-provoking book. Debra Ginsberg is a wonderful writer, as anyone who's read her previous books knows, and she's continued to hone her craft. Can't wait for her next book!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Cheryl Dellasega on June 3, 2006
Format: Paperback
More than the story of one author and her sisters, this book is a wonderful illustration of how families continue to shape us long after the formative childhood years. Debra's close/distant/close relationships with each of her unique (unmarried)sisters and solitary brother as well as their relationships with each other make this memoir tick. Although her parents are seen through the lens of the author, they, too, are part of the Ginsberg family chemistry. Yet ultimately, it is the girls who glue it all together--their issues around food and men and bodies and babies will capture most readers and keep the pages turning.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Kathy K VINE VOICE on June 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Through intimate snapshots highlighting her relationships with her three sisters and one brother, Debra Ginsberg illuminates the wonderful ordinariness of being a sibling. Each of the multi-faceted roles she plays within her family reflects with an enduring light that makes one cherish her own sisterly role or wish that it was one she could play. Other than an occasional tangent where Ginsberg got off track, this book was a well-woven tale attesting to the true power of family.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this entire memoir from cover to cover and, after reading it all, I came away with the feeling that there were many more family dramas that were left out - perhaps to spare feelings and to remain in good standing with the family. One can hardly blame Ginsberg for that, though. Unfortunately, it waters the book down. Had she been writing about another family, objectively, the author would've probably been much less forgiving - and therefore a more honest and intriguing portrayal would've emerged.
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