I wanted to read this book from the moment I read a review on NPR.com. I don’t have sisters, but I have always been fascinated with the dynamic. Having come from a home with three brothers and moving into an all girls apartment in college, I could tell you stories of culture shock! When I found out that my third child would be a little girl and I would be the mother of sisters just two years apart, I knew I wanted to read this book before # 3 made touch down.
Deborah Tannen is a professor of linguistics and writer of books about how humans communicate with one another and how that affects their relationships. She is also a youngest sister. This gives her a unique interest in her subject matter. Tannen spent years collecting hundreds of personal interviews. She also used information from student projects and papers along with her own research. This gives the book a very collaborative feel. She goes through different dynamics within the sister relationships, and how communication happens, or doesn’t happen in those situations. I truly enjoy some of the stories of the different groups of sisters, both good and bad. I also found myself surprised by the volatile nature of some of the sisters. In a few of the situations when first interviewed the sisters weren’t speaking with each other (or were) and when re-interviewed a year later they were again (or weren’t). In every circumstances I would try to think of my best friend and her three sisters and try to find something recognizable.
This book was both fun and informative. As a parent, I also feel like a picked up some things to look for in order to understand how my girls’ relationships might go in the future… well, when they learn to talk. This would be a wonderful book for sisters, siblings, or sets of female roommates.