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A Gift for My Sister: A Novel Hardcover – May 1, 2012
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About the Author
Ann Pearlman, Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award Nominee, is the author of Infidelity: A Memoir, The Christmas Cookie Club, and The Christmas Cookie Cookbook. She lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
Top customer reviews
Sky and Tara are half-sisters; they share a mother, but Tara came along a number of years after Sky's father passed away and their mother remarried, disrupting the comfortable twosome Sky and their mother had built over their own grief. Tara, having inherited the musical gene from her wayward, promiscuous father, uses her creativity as a measure of comfort in what she perceives is the absence of familial love. If she only has herself and her music to depend on, she doesn't need anyone else.
Likewise, Sky, when she marries her high school sweetheart and best friend Troy, and they go off across the country to be lawyers together and raise a child, finds the twosome in him she has missed since Tara was born, and determines that is all she needs to survive.
Both sisters treat the other as if they have nothing in common, because they aren't fully blood, when sometimes that doesn't matter at all. Family can be created, not born.
Until tragedy strikes and the two sisters are thrown together by circumstance and the familial bonds they didn't think existed.
I can't say enough good things about A Gift for My Sister. There are just so many! The premise is initially very sad and full of heartbreak. After having several miscarriages, a stillbirth, and losing her best friend, Sky loses her husband Troy to a mysterious bacteria. Her family rallies around her in support, including Tara and her rap crew, a group of black kids from Detroit that Sky would rather judge than face her wrongfully preconceived notions. Notions that, in light of her recent loss, they all look past gracefully. Tara, desperate for some measure of a sisterly bond that they never really had, tries again and again to reach Sky and find what they've been missing all these years. But old resentments are hard to get over when one daughter lost her father and the other daughter's father abandoned her.
I feel like I could wax poetic about A Gift for My Sister all day long and simply not do it any justice. This is a book I don't even want to tell you about; I just want you to read it. It personally struck a chord in me because I have an older half-sister, who is not quite eight years older than I am (we share the same father) and a younger stepsister by four years, whose father passed away nine years ago (and he raised me). And while my younger sister and I were close in childhood, and my older sister and I were not, the tides reversed when my stepfather passed away. Tragedy can do funny things to families; it can make you or break you. But, I like to hold out hope that in the end, it all works out. And A Gift for My Sister really gives me hope that it will.
It addresses so many issues: family estrangement, race & prejudice, death, infidelity, but most importantly: how you live your life. It was heartbreaking and it was happy. I identified with all of the characters on a really deep level and this is the contemporary read I recommend everyone read at least once in their lives.
Because it doesn't matter how you die; only how you live.
Sky, first born, has always resented her sister. After the death of her father, Sky and her mother were fine, but her mother missed a man in her life....and quickly, too quickly married again. When Tara was born, she seemed to always be angry, different, and difficult. Their lives didn't grow apart; there was never any closeness. Pearlman's story of a tragedy which results in forced togetherness leads to angry recriminations and acts of understanding and kindness.
At first, it was hard for me to understand Tara's life, living and working in what seemed to be a wildly different culture. But, once you understand Tara's loves and fears....once you see the steady love of Aaron, her life doesn't seem like it's lived strictly to rebel and be different. Sky's job, friends, and life with her husband are more like mine. The sadness of Sky's life seems unlikely; yet, unfortunately, I've experienced some of the same heartbreak. I liked the sentiment that you should "love regardless, not to the destruction of yourself, but in spite of yourself". However, even though I can relate to situations and characters in the book, the story just had too much death...and Tara's life was just too different for me to really relate to them.
*Complimentary copy received for this review, does not affect my opinion in any way*
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A Gift For My Sister is a story about tragedy, family, and overcoming the odds.Read more