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Sister Mine: A Novel Paperback – May 6, 2008
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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.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
This novel contains so much--pathos, laugh-out-loud humor, well-drawn compelling characters. My Chaucer professor has remarked that the difference between literature and popular fiction is that literature has cracks in it that are open for the reader to interpret. "Sister Mine" qualifies as literature according to his definition. For example, I have spent some time pondering what took place in the conversation between Clay and Shannon at the end of the book. Clay tells his mother "I realize after talking to Aunt Shannon that there are things about you I don't understand completely...." I have tried to tease out just what Shannon told him. How much of her and Shae-Lynne's childhood did she disclose? Did she confide her suspicions about Clay's own birth? But this ambiguous line, so open to interpretation, is only one of the many gems within Sister Mine.
Like Tawni O'Dell herself, the novel's protagonist Shae-Lynn Penrose is one of those who left the her small town (the fictitious and ironically named Jolly Mount)for the big city. Shae-Lynn escaped a dreadful childhood, an abusive father, and the apparent death of her younger sister to pursue an education and a career -- all as a single mother. Now she's back in Jolly Mount, over age 40, and driving a taxi. Her life is relatively good; she sees her son daily, although not always in the circumstances one would imagine. Her job allows her to know everything about everyone, and to administer her unique sense of justice as needed. One of those cab rides, an airport pickup of a shadowy New York lawyer, turns Shae-Lynn's life inside out. In just a few days, Shae-Lynn's tidy existence will be in chaos with the arrival of a very pregnant young woman, a housewife willing to pay any price for an under-the-table adoption, and a Russian gangster. Shae-Lynn will also confront, for the first time in years, the repulsive father of her son.
A key element of this wonderful novel is a portrayal of those in the coal mining industry. O'Dell creates a fictional version of the group of Pennsylvania miners who several years ago survived a harrowing mining accident. O'Dell tells what happens to these men, "The Jolly Mount Five," as well as their families, in the not-so happily ever after.
Sister Mine is gritty, tragic and deadly funny. It's written with love, and will stay with the reader for a long time.
Part of that long and sometimes painful history is Shae-Lynn's little sister, Shannon, who disappeared without a trace from their small coal mining town many years before. Shae-Lynn has always suspected that their father, a bitterly unhappy coal miner with a recreational habit of beating up his little girls, finally let his abuse go too far and killed Shannon. That theory has to be revised, though, when long-lost Shannon shows up on Shae-Lynn's doorstep --- nine months pregnant, with no boyfriend or husband in sight.
Shannon isn't entirely alone, though; in her wake comes a rich Connecticut housewife, a suave New York lawyer and a Russian mobster --- all looking for Shannon. What has Shannon been up to? What does she want --- or need --- from Shae-Lynn? Does her arrival mean more trouble for Shae-Lynn? Or will it finally force her to confront some other demons in her past?
Although the candy-colored cover art and pun-filled title, sharp-tongued protagonist and mystery plot might make you think that SISTER MINE is aimed at, say, fans of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum, Tawni O'Dell's novel is far more sophisticated than it appears at first glance. Sure, there are plenty of funny situations --- O'Dell has a knack for writing fast-paced, vivid action scenes and other dramatic or comic interactions --- but Shae-Lynn's observations lend insight, and even wisdom, to the book's portrayals of place and of its many finely-drawn secondary characters.Read more ›
What was a VERY PLEASANT SURPRISE for me was Ms. O'Dell's sparkling sense of humor and how funny this book is. If you read her first two books, they were WONDERFULLY dark. This book is FUNNY; however, it does have it dark spots, which is good! The plot moves and grooves, and I could not turn the pages quickly enough.
Meet Shae-Lynn Penrose who lives in Jolly Mount, Pennsylvania, a very small mining town. A few years earlier there was a near mining disaster there and five of her friends were trapped four days before being rescued. The book deals with all of these characters who have had to come to grips with their being trapped, their survival, and the long and rough road this experience takes them on. Shae-Lynn is involved with each of them in different ways, as this is a small town where everyone knows everyone.
Shae-Lynn has many demons of her own -- her totally mean, nasty, physically abusive dad, her missing and presumed dead sister, her son, and the town folk who, in one way or another, Shae-Lynn is involved with. Shae-Lynn is an ex-cop who has come home to Jolly Mount and now owns her own cab company -- which consists of Shae-Lynn and her car. The neighbors, friends, and town people you will be introduced to are all so different and all such good characters and the author makes them feel so very, very real. This is a great book!!!!
Not wanting to give away too much of the story, Shae-Lynn's life gets turned upside down as her past and present collide at full speed.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
It was an okay read. Not my favorite by this author. If you want an easy read then this is a good choice.Published 5 months ago by Lynne
Sister Mine is a great read! Full of wry observations about life, choices, life choices you'd make for others, love, sarcasm, sadness, and hope. Read morePublished 7 months ago by T. C.
You won't be disappointed with this book! All of Tawni O'Dell's books are awesome. It makes me want to read more.Published 9 months ago by Nicole
Nicely written and held my interest. Ending was a bit too romantic and contrived. Of particular interest to anyone familiar with western PA or coal mining communities.Published 9 months ago by Ronald R. Emerick
Tawni O'Dell has a lovely gift for words. Besides writing a compelling story she also uses beautiful language in telling the story. Read morePublished 10 months ago by Kathy Bayer
Tawni O'Dell never fails to entertain me. I enmoy her books so very much. This book is no exception. The story line is good. The characters are entertaining and interesting. Read morePublished 12 months ago by E. Ervin
I could spend forever in Jolly Mount with these characters! Beautifully written, heart-wrenching, funny, soulful, and gripping from the very first page. Read morePublished 17 months ago by BPPRO