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While My Sister Sleeps Paperback – October 27, 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 127 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Delinsky flounders on her latest, a chronicle of how a family deals with a tragedy that befalls its favorite daughter. An Olympic marathon contender, self-centered Robin Snow often rubs her younger sister, Molly, the wrong way. After many years in her sister's shadow, Molly takes out her resentment with petty actions, such as refusing to accompany Robin on a run. Fatefully, Robin has a heart attack while training and falls into a coma. As Robin's condition fails to improve, Delinsky digs tediously into the family's woes: Molly's touchy relationship with Robin's ambitious reporter ex-boyfriend; middle son Chris's dealings with a would-be blackmailer; mother Kathryn's trouble coming to terms with Robin's dire prognosis. Delinsky litters the narrative with momentum-crippling scene-setting minutiae, and the Snow family, while theatrically intense in their interactions, make for flat characters. Delinsky is adept as portraying angst, but her story would have greatly benefited from a tighter telling and more complex characters. (Feb.)
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.

Review

“Delinsky is a first-rate storyteller who creates believable, sympathetic characters who seem as familiar as your neighbors.” —The Boston Globe

“Delinsky is an engaging writer who knows how to interweave several stories about complex relationships and keeps her books interesting to the end.” —Newark Star-Ledger

“Delinsky treads the same domestic themes as fellow best-seller Jodi Picoult.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Delinsky may be as adept at chronicling contemporary life in New England as any writer this side of John Updike.” —Times Union (Albany)

“Delinsky delves deeper into the human heart and spirit with each new novel.” —Cincinnati Inquirer

“Delinsky uses nuance and detail to draw realistic characters and ensure that emotion is genuine.” —The Providence Journal

“Delinsky is out there with the Anita Shreves and Elizabeth Bergs, perpetually bestselling authors who wrestle with bigger themes.” —Lexington Herald-Ledger

“Fast-paced entertainment… In her new family drama, Delinsky examines the roles people unconsciously play in families and how a mother's single-minded passion to have one child fulfill a dream can create resentment in the other siblings.” —USA Today

"Molly Snow isn't worried when she gets a phone call notifying her that her sister is in the ER. A world-class runner, 32-year-old Robin Snow has had many injuries, and Molly arrives at the hospital expecting nothing worse than an ankle sprain. But Robin has had a massive heart attack while running, and the prognosis is not good. As the devastated Snow family holds a bedside vigil, they learn things about Robin that alternately surprise and distress them. Graced by characters readers will come to care about, this is that rare book that deserves to have the phrase "impossible to put down" attached to it. Delinsky (The Secret Between Us) does a wonderful and realistic job portraying family dynamics; the relationship between Molly and Robin, in particular, is spot-on. This touching and heartbreaking novel is highly recommended for public libraries where women's fiction is popular. Readers of Kristin Hannah and Patricia Gaffney will enjoy it." —Library Journal

"
The Snow family faces a devastating crisis when oldest daughter Robin, a runner training for the Olympics, suffers a catastrophic heart attack. Molly, Robin's younger sister, gets the call from the hospital and is immediately guilt-stricken: she was supposed to accompany Robin on her run. When Molly, her older brother, Chris, and her parents, Kathryn and Charlie, gather at the hospital, they learn that Robin is in a coma and might be brain dead. While Kathryn refuses to believe the worst, Molly reaches out to David, the handsome teacher who found Robin after the heart attack, and tries to determine whether Nick, a charming reporter who once dated Robin briefly, is truly concerned about the family or just pursuing a big story. The Snows try to come to grips with the reality that Robin might never wake up, and Molly, attempting to discern what Robin would want, stumbles across Robin's diaries and learns some startling family secrets... Delinsky's popularity should ensure demand for this engaging exploration of every family's worst nightmare." —Booklist
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; Reprint edition (October 27, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767928954
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767928953
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.8 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (127 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #699,655 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Kara Kohn on February 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Molly Snow has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Robin, who is a determined runner bound for Olympic greatness. Whereas Robin has always shone in the spotlight and is the apple of their mother's eye, Molly likes to remain behind the scenes, fulfilling her passion for botany, where she works in her family's business, the Snow Hill Greenhouse. Sometimes to her chagrin, Molly is also expected to support Robin's running, timing her practices and driving her to meets.

On a day Molly was supposed to be with Robin, tragedy strikes when Robin is found unconscious on the roadside by another runner. After being admitted to the ICU, it is determined that Robin had a massive heart attack that deprived her for oxygen for too long and left her brain dead. In the days that follow, each family is grappling with Robin's accident in different ways: Charlie, her father, tries to be the silent supporter, Chris, her brother, wants Robin off the life support, Kathyrn, her mother, believes that Robin will come out of this, and Molly just wants to do what Robin would have wanted, even though she doesn't know what this is.

While dealing with the guilt she feels for not being there for her sister, Molly is determined to do right by Robin and figure out what she wanted. Little does she know the family secrets she will unveil while looking for an answer.

Tackling a hot issue such as the ethics of life support is delicately executed by Delinsky's talented voice. Readers will find themselves wrapped up in the Snow's dilemma, and they will be thinking about the decisions made long after the last page is turned. While My Sister Sleeps is another thought-provoking story from bestselling author Delinsky.
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Format: Hardcover
This is the first time I've read a book by this author and I finished it over a weekend because I wanted to find out what happened - it grabbed me in the first few pages. A moral dilemma with very good character developement. Some characters I liked, some I hated, some I wasn't sure about, and some who changed from beginning to end. Twists and turns along the way kept my interest and explained some of the characters' actions. I highly recommend this book.
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Format: Hardcover
I am a huge Barbara Delinsky fan and was excited to read her newest book. It doesn't disappoint...I was hooked from the beginning. What I loved most is that it truly makes you think about what you would do if, God forbid, your own family ever had to make the same decisions that the Snow family has to make. Be sure to read it with tissues near by!
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Format: Hardcover
In typical Delinsky style, While My Sister Sleeps is a provocative drama about family secrets, rivalries, resentments and regrets.

In the opening, we meet Molly, the youngest sister in the Snow family, a horticulturist in the family business. Reliable, sometimes blunt and outspoken, she is definitely not the "star." While Robin, the oldest in the trio of siblings - Chris, the only son, is in the middle and quietly does his thing - is a prize-winning runner, on her way to greatness.

Then on one fateful day during a race - a run that Molly didn't have the time to attend - Robin has a massive heart attack. A Good Samaritan gives her CPR, but it may have been too late. She is comatose, while the family waits for the grim outcome.

Throughout the waiting process, we gradually come to know each family member, with the secret fears, hopes, and regrets - through their internal dialogues, conversations, and in Robin's case, a CD containing her personal journal - and discover the bonds and strength that unify them all in the end.

Like an unexpected gift that opens slowly, revealing hidden treasures,the family members finally realize that they do have the strength to make the necessary decisions.

I read this one nonstop, pausing only for necessities, and when I was done, I wished for more. I felt I had come to know this family and the flawed characters that felt so real.

Laurel-Rain Snow
Author of: Web of Tyranny, etc.
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By KLR on November 23, 2009
Format: Paperback
What a boring book! Usually I put a book down if I can't get into it within the first 60 pages but I persevered and made it all the way to Page 125 before putting down. I was hoping something, ANYTHING, would happen to move the plot along but for 125 pages Robin is brain dead, the family feels terrible, Robin is brain dead, the family feels terrible...this is all that happens within the first one-third of the book. I finally put it down last night; I just couldn't read anymore.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been reading Barbara Delinsky's books for years, all the way back to her romance days. So I am always excited when one of her books comes out. This book does not disappoint, as other reviewers have agreed. Delinsky tackles hard subjects that honestly I tend to avoid, in a way that makes it palatable to read. Other authors, such as Jodi Picoult, also write about very difficult subject matter but in a more intense way. (Not trying to knock Picoult, because she is a fabulous writer- just offering a comparison)

Anyway, I liked the character development in While My Sister Sleeps. As a result of one character's accident, the other characters get to know themselves and one another in different and new ways. Each comes out somewhat better at the end, which helps make the situation more accepting.
Very good read, I could not put it down and thought about it a lot in between chapters and since I finished.
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