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About My Sisters Hardcover – Deckle Edge, March 2, 2004

4.4 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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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.

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
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (March 2, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 006052202X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060522025
  • Product Dimensions: 5.6 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #798,258 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I loved reading this book. It was recommended by my son, who was a friend of one of the Ginsbergs. I knew their parents too from back in the 1980s. It was especially enjoyable reading about their life as they lived in places where I also have also lived. I enjoyed reading how they overcame many challenges which we all face. The author has a great writing style.
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Format: Hardcover
"No one will ever love you like your family!" my mother would holler at me, when I was a little girl, and, secretly, I'd think, How ridiculous. Now, at 47, I know the truth of her words but would add, as a cautionary note, "...and no one will ever drive you as nuts as your family."

Ginsberg, then, takes on a big subject in About My Sisters: family relationships. Despite the title, she actually looks at the complex world of both her family of origin (the sisters of the title, a brother, a mom and dad) as well as her extended family (her son, along with various boyfriends and girlfriends of family members).

It's in the very ordinariness of the family that the book derives its strength; by the description of the family's day-to-day feuds and fusses, as well as the family's ongoing support and caring, Ginsberg reveals the power of the family in our lives. A reader of About My Sisters will nod as she reads, recognizing, in the pages, her own family chaos, her own family cohesion, whirling and spinning, expanding and contracting, like the universe, like life itself.
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