Customer Reviews for

The Sister

Average Rating 3.5
( 154 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(59)

3 Star

(48)

2 Star

(19)

1 Star

(3)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

Sister

'The Sister' is an evocative and eerie novel that centers around the relationship between two adult sisters. When these two sisters (who have not seen each other for decades) undertake to reunite, things are not quite as one would expect. Ms. Adams captivated my atte...
'The Sister' is an evocative and eerie novel that centers around the relationship between two adult sisters. When these two sisters (who have not seen each other for decades) undertake to reunite, things are not quite as one would expect. Ms. Adams captivated my attention and drew me in to the dark and ominous world she created. It was difficult for me to put the book down and I often found myself reading ahead of what the book-club schedule dictated. The novel does heavily focus on moths and the science underlying the moth life-cycle and this was a reason some readers attributed to not enjoying the book. I confess that I did prefer other portions of the book but I did feel that the science added an important element to the story and assisted in character development. All in all, I think Ms. Adams presents a compelling novel and I think it's a perfect book for a rainy day (don't forget your cup of tea!).

posted by Anonymous on August 6, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

Blech!

Poppy Adams does have a very nice style of writing which is probably the only reason I finished this book. There was way too much information about moths! After reading this book I feel like I am Ginny. There is nothing to figure out in this book because, just like Ginn...
Poppy Adams does have a very nice style of writing which is probably the only reason I finished this book. There was way too much information about moths! After reading this book I feel like I am Ginny. There is nothing to figure out in this book because, just like Ginny, you don't know enough to draw any solid conclusions about what happened. So this is what it's like to be mentally challenged about your surroundings? To top it off, I'm totally annoyed at flyjo9 who ruined the only surprise/twist in the book.

posted by Anonymous on September 29, 2008

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 29, 2008

    Blech!

    Poppy Adams does have a very nice style of writing which is probably the only reason I finished this book. There was way too much information about moths! After reading this book I feel like I am Ginny. There is nothing to figure out in this book because, just like Ginny, you don't know enough to draw any solid conclusions about what happened. So this is what it's like to be mentally challenged about your surroundings? To top it off, I'm totally annoyed at flyjo9 who ruined the only surprise/twist in the book.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 8, 2008

    One of the BEST books I have ever read

    This book was great. It was easy to read but didn't feel like 'an easy read'. It really makes you think about who the crazy one is. It shows that it is a matter perspective. It reminded me of the Bette Davis movie WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2008

    Wanted to know More!

    I love this type of story, but this one left me wanting to know more about the characters - and what some of them had been doing for the past 50 years. I think the coorelation of the decay of Ginny's moth research and the dcay of hers and her family's life and relationships was very interesting and readable. I always loved bugs, butterflys, moths and the like as a child - so that part was totally interesting and I got immersed in those parts. Good read! I want more from Poppy!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    Poppy Adam's debut novel was haunting. It drew me in slowly building more questions than providing answers- an exercise in imagination. Ginny's metamorphosis was symbolic, we watched as she was eccentrically passive only to take perceived control of her life at the end. I will read this novel again and gleen more from a second look. Both sisters' character kept the reader with two feet planted firmly in midair.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    Families can make and break us, and The Sister is a fine example of this. This book takes you into a family dynamic that leaves you with more questions than answers. That sometimes is a good thing. I liked the fact that the story revolved around one sister thinking about her family and all that they were and were not. Is she reliable or not? That is what compels you to keep reading. You can't quite figure out what exactly is going on, what went on in the past, and the what will happen in the present. If you like stories that raise more questions, and keep you thinking, this book is for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    Wow, this reader expected just another ordinary book and thankfully found thought-provoking, unique literature. While reading 'The Sister', I was so fortunate to encounter dozens upon dozens of unique conversations with others who were reading this unique tome and upon finishing it I absolutely could not stop thinking about it. This is a novel that brings forth dialog and emotion, and above all, causes the reader to think. We have Poppy Adams to thank for reviving smart literature. She is definitely one to watch.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    'The Sister' is an evocative and eerie novel that centers around the relationship between two adult sisters. When these two sisters (who have not seen each other for decades) undertake to reunite, things are not quite as one would expect. Ms. Adams captivated my attention and drew me in to the dark and ominous world she created. It was difficult for me to put the book down and I often found myself reading ahead of what the book-club schedule dictated. The novel does heavily focus on moths and the science underlying the moth life-cycle and this was a reason some readers attributed to not enjoying the book. I confess that I did prefer other portions of the book but I did feel that the science added an important element to the story and assisted in character development. All in all, I think Ms. Adams presents a compelling novel and I think it's a perfect book for a rainy day (don't forget your cup of tea!).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    Poppy Adams' The Sister is one excellently creepy book. It opens, as many books do, in a crumbling English estate. Its narrator is an elderly woman, something of a holdover from an previous age, as is done in many books. But from that point on, all bets are off. I would love to discuss the plot in painstaking detail, but there's really no way I can without spoiling it for you, the potential reader, and I do think you should read this book. Simply put, action is kept to the minimum in The Sister the bulk of the novel is composed of flashbacks to the narrator's youth and the slice-of-life situations one might imagine would result after two sisters estranged for decades are reunited all of which builds up to some pivotal choices, events, and outcomes. But oh, these are very well done indeed. Adams, who worked as a documentary filmmaker before trying her hand as a novelist, brings a cinematographer's sense of pacing, staging, and ambiance to her narrative. Readers are certain that something is going to happen, just not what. Or when. Adams has also performed the neat trick of creating a character reliable in her unreliability (the meaning of this phrase will become clear to anyone who reads the book), as well as penning what could have been a hackneyed ending but with an unusual twist, which it is just killing me not to be able to discuss here. That said, a caveat: lepidoptery (the study of moths) plays an integral role in The Sister's plot. I actually enjoyed this aspect of the novel quite a bit, as it offered a chance to learn something about a discipline with which I'm not terribly familiar while being entertained by a cracking good story nevertheless, I can see how those passages might disagree with a reader looking for faster pacing from their novels. But once one stops to think about it, all the talk of moth behavior adds to readers' understanding of the main character in a way that simply would not have been possible otherwise without some other disruptive means (breaking with the narrator's voice or worse yet, the dreaded explanatory epilogue). I found The Sister to be highly enjoyable book that I recommend to anyone looking for a suspenseful read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    The book starts out, seeming on one path, and takes the reader down a different one altogether. The story is beautifully written and I found the characters to be well written. The relationship between the sisters is dysfunctional but the reader cannot put the book down. I found the twist at the end was one that I never saw coming. This is an author that I will look for more work from. Poppy Adams has written a beautiful story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    I received this arc from the Barnes and Noble First Look Book Club. It is so wonderful to be a part of this program because the authors are also on the message boards and will answer questions from readers. I can¿t tell you how much I enjoyed reading Poppy Adams¿ responses to the questions posed. I will definitely be reading more of her work when it comes out. The Sister is her first novel. Originally titled The Time of Emergence, and called The Behaviour of Moths in the UK, The Sister is a book where, after reaching the end, the reader may be left with more questions unanswered than answered. There are multiple interpretations that could be made about several different occurrences in the book. For me, that¿s what makes this story so fascinating. I know that may be more of a frustration to some, though. Vivien (Vivi) and Virginia (Ginny) are two sisters who grew up in a countryside mansion with lepidopterist ancestors. Their maternal grandfather and father were both lepidopterists, and Ginny becomes a lepidopterist. What is a lepidopterist? It¿s a person who studies moths and butterflies. There is much discussion of the behavior of moths in this book, but it is an essential aspect of the story. While reading and after finishing the book, I realized many parallels between the behavior of moths and the behavior of the characters in the novel. This is a book I¿ll probably re-read at some point to catch all the connections between the two. Vivi and Ginny have been separated for decades, and the reasons why become apparent as the story unfolds. Very different from each other, Vivi is outgoing and leaves home for London at a young age, while Ginny is an introvert and a homebody. In fact, as the novel opens, we get the sense that Ginny hasn¿t left her home for many, many years. Vivien decides to come back to the house, stating to Ginny that as sisters, they should spend their old age together. The entire novel only takes place over a few days, but as each day unfolds, we are also given glimpses from the past and why they have been separated for so long. All of this is told from Ginny¿s perspective, though, and as Ginny and Vivi discuss their history together, they both realize that they saw their childhood in distinctly different ways. These differences are crucial to figuring out what is going on in the story. What is going on in the story? I don¿t want to tell you much, because it has a really good, creepy, gothic, Hitchcock feel to it that is better left to finding out by reading the story. If you don¿t mind not having everything wrapped up in the end, and if you like having multiple interpretations of a storyline, you¿ll love this book. I really enjoyed it, and the more I think about it, the more I love it. Rating: 4.5/5

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    I was taken in by the first chapters of the book where we find one sister waiting for the other to arrive, but slowly the book lost me through all the science of the moths. I wanted to follow the mystery of the families lives, but it kept getting thrown in with moth talk. The book did grab me toward the 2nd half of the book and had me until the end, where I felt I was left hanging. For a first novel, I give Poppy Adams good marks for her characters and story, but she left to many questions for the reader to have to answer on their own. I wanted to like this book, but in the end it wasn't my type of book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    In The Sister author Poppy Adams introduces her readers to the thoughts of Miss Virginia (Ginny) Stone as she awaits the arrival of her sister Vivien after an absence of nearly fifty years. As the two sisters share a weekend reunion and begin to prepare for a life together at their ancestral home Bulburrow Court, Ginny shares her thoughts about family, family history, childhood, young adulthood and career. As the observer of Ginny's thoughts and subsequent actions, there are times when you cannot turn the pages fast enough and there are times when you want to push Ginny to stand up for herself, to communicate and to share her life. But at the end of four short days shared with her sister you will not be prepared for Ginny's shocking and significant decisions. This story is well-written, intriguing and one I shall remember. I find myself thinking about Ginny and Vivi, relationships and perceptions long after I finished reading The Sister.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    Sister

    It had a great story line but it kept getting lost in all the scientific stuff. Interesting thought provoking story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    I couldn't put the book down. At one point, I knew what was going to happen, but I still had to keep reading. I enjoyed it much more than the HAR - even though I'm not sure why. The idea behind both novels was similar...an elderly woman telling her story in the first person. There was mystery and intrigue in both. I think 'The Sister' tied the end up a little more neatly which fits my personality a little better, too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    Giving 2-stars is being nice. 'The Sister' by Poppy Adams was a waste of my time. It was captivating, mostly because I kept reading because with every page turned, I'd tell myself it was going to get better. Next thing I knew, 200 or so pages went by and I hadn't fallen in love with the plot, or the overwelming amount of useless information that I pray I can push out of my head. A few of the characters I liked, but they were buried to the neck in bugs, or in this case catapillars. If you are looking for a scientific report on every stickin detail of bugs, then this book is for you, except occasionally there are some paragraphs about some people, with some problems, doing something. If you are looking for a compelling story about family, the loss of loved ones, and the insanity that comes with family, then don't bother reading this book, because it is only a tease of a glimpse into the of lives of Ginny and Vivian.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    After a slow start, I found myself caught up in Ms. Adams' debut novel. While I normally read books for their enjoyment factor and don't necessarily read them with the aim of analyzing every action of the characters, I found myself constantly rethinking my opinions of Ginny and Vivi and how their lives evolved as they did. Ms. Adams' does a very good job of weaving the sisters' memories of the past into their present lives. It is interesting to see how Ginny and Vivi see the same events in totally different lights. As the story progresses, Ginny is forced to rethink some of her earlier memories and how they impacted her life. How might her life have been different if events had occurred differently? Ms. Adams' use of moths and how she interwove the moths with the behaviors of the family members was neatly done. Some of her scientific descriptions about the moths and their development were a little too indepth for my tastes. Ms. Adams' does not 'spoon feed' the reader everything about this book, but makes you think. If you don't like having everything handed to you, you will enjoy this book. If you like to think and draw your own conclusions, this book is for you.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2008

    Sister

    Poppy Adam¿s debut novel, The Sister, begins with an elderly woman waiting for her sister to arrive home after a 50 year absence. Ginny has lived her entire life in the family house - a broken down, monolith tucked into the countryside of England. She is a recluse who peers from behind her windows at the neighbors and lives an obsessively ordered existence bordering on paranoia. Vivi, on the other hand, is socially outgoing - an older woman who looks ten years younger. Years earlier,Vivi separated herself from her family and appeared to never look back. But now she has returned and this event will become the catalyst which allows Ginny¿s long repressed grievances to emerge. The novel occurs over a four day period and is narrated from Ginny¿s point of view. As Ginny remembers her childhood with Vivi, the reader begins to understand the source of her neuroses. Ginny¿s father, Clive, was a famous lepidopterist and Ginny assisted him with his obsessive study of moths. The moths become another character in the book, which in my opinion elevated the novel from a so-so Gothic tale to an exceptional first work. The Sister is about mental illness, addiction and the dynamics of family, but it is also about nature vs. nurture and whether or not it is choice or biology which dictates our behavior. Adams uses the moth as a symbol to underline these concepts. 'I can mimic the scent of a flower so that a moth will direct itself towards the scent, and kills itself. Each time each moth will kill itself. It is this constancy that makes them a scientific delight - you do not need to factor in a rogue element of individuality. - From The Sister, page 55-' The Sister is a spellbinding work, one which immerses the reader completely in the story and builds to a relentless and shocking end. Adam¿s development of Ginny¿s character is like a slow train gathering speed and momentum. The sense of doom, of things unraveling provides the tension for the novel. Readers who like all loose ends tied up may struggle with this book. Adams allows for reader interpretation of certain events, and Ginny¿s reliability as a narrator is questionable. The Sister will appeal to readers who like to work their way through a web of information, untangling it as they go. It is a thoughtful novel which explores the darker side of human nature. Highly recommended.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    Sister

    I loved this book. I couldn't put it down. It was an interesting read full of all kinds of twists and turns. As you read the book you have no idea where Ginny is going to take you next from her past. I love the way she describes her life growing up with her sister and her parents. I also found it interesting the way Ginny shared the same interest as her father with moths. This book in my opinion is an excellent read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    Sister

    I'm glad I had the opportunity to read 'The Sister.' Unlike many of the other readers in the group, I found myself becoming very sympathetic to Ginny, one of the two main characters in the story. I also found I didn't particularly care for her sister Vivi. I found her to be rather heartless and self-serving. (Of course, she did grow up to be the somewhat 'spoiled' daughter.) This is not a book I would normally pick up off the shelf, which is one reason why I enjoy the First Look Book Club. It gives readers the chance to try a book that is somewhat different than what they normally read. I plan to someday reread this book for pleasure's sake ... not having to analyze it for a book group, per se.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2008

    Sister

    The Stones were an unusual family, marked by sharply contrasting personalities and a family love for lepidoptery. When the last remaining members of the Stone family - sisters Vivian and Virginia - reunite after nearly fifty years of estrangement, the family's deepest secrets rise to the surface. Vivian's arrival on Virginia's doorstep heralds the exposure of truth behind the tragic events that destroyed a once-grand family. This is a great first-time novel from Poppy Adams, who is primarily known for making television documentaries. Initially, I had my reservations about this book as the jacket blurbs brought it across as chick-lit. It's not. This is soooo not chick-lit. The best description I can think of for this is 'Southern Gothic with a British twist'... Twisting and turning, eerie and provocative, disturbing and seductive at the same time. The documentary filmmaking experience has served Adams well in writing The Sister. She has a keen sense for what details are and are not important, and for the unfolding of a story. She makes excellent use of flashbacks, and is capable of painting a picture so vivid that you can picture it just as clearly in your head as on a television screen. Her characters are remarkably well-rendered as well as memorable. Ginny (Virginia) is easily the most fascinating character of the whole story, both for being the narrator and for her defining characteristics. By the middle of the book, you can already tell that her accounting for events is slightly skewed or perhaps absent a certain perceptiveness natural in most people. Approaching the last quarter of the book, taking in the whole of Ginny's narratives regarding her childhood and her reaction to Vivi's arrival, I began to get a more concrete idea that Ginny's character likely experiences some form of high-functioning autism / Asperger's Syndrome. That understanding, in itself, put a twist on the revelations in the final chapters of the book. On the whole, this is an outstanding read. It will be interesting to see what Adams produces when she next puts pen to paper.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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