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The Story Sisters

Average Rating 4
( 115 )
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5 Star

(46)

4 Star

(34)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(6)

1 Star

(8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

A good read.

I have loved all of Alice Hoffman's books, I've been reading her for years and years. This book is mature, full of great beauty and of sadness, like life. The sadness is the lesson that people who victimize children not only hurt the children but all the people around t...
I have loved all of Alice Hoffman's books, I've been reading her for years and years. This book is mature, full of great beauty and of sadness, like life. The sadness is the lesson that people who victimize children not only hurt the children but all the people around them, for years to come. The beauty, the strong point in all Hoffman's books is finding magic in nature, in spirit, and the people around us. I hope this one wins her the Pulitzer.

posted by 1Katherine1 on September 3, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

Very dark, disturbing subject matter

It's Elizabeth Berg meets Jodi Picoult with a touch of haunting plot twists. This book was so disturbing that, when I got to a particular part on the book with yet ANOTHER reference to animal abuse, I threw it in the recycling bin. I didn't even want to donate it or pas...
It's Elizabeth Berg meets Jodi Picoult with a touch of haunting plot twists. This book was so disturbing that, when I got to a particular part on the book with yet ANOTHER reference to animal abuse, I threw it in the recycling bin. I didn't even want to donate it or pass it along. This made my nighttime reading habit very dismal, and I found it depressing. From a literary standpoint, however, Alice Hoffman addresses head-on the permanent consequences of temporary acts, and she delves into the behavioral changes and emotional tumult of a family in crisis with startling precision.

posted by 297692 on September 6, 2009

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  • Posted September 3, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A good read.

    I have loved all of Alice Hoffman's books, I've been reading her for years and years. This book is mature, full of great beauty and of sadness, like life. The sadness is the lesson that people who victimize children not only hurt the children but all the people around them, for years to come. The beauty, the strong point in all Hoffman's books is finding magic in nature, in spirit, and the people around us. I hope this one wins her the Pulitzer.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 21, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A Moving Family Tale

    Alice Hoffman is an author known for her novels filled with magical touches. Her latest, The Story Sisters, continues that, when a magical world created by three sisters collides with the reality of the world in which we all exist.

    Elizabeth, called Elv, Meg and Claire Story live with their mother in a small town on Long Island. Their parents are in the middle of a bad divorce, and it has affected the girls deeply. When they were young children, Elv (whose nickname connotes the fairy-like elves) created a fairy tale world, Arnelle, which had its own language. It slightly concerned their mother Annie when they would continue to speak this language, even as they grew out of childhood.

    This fantasy world contrasts with the physical world in which they live. Annie has a large garden, and grows heirloom tomatoes. The girls are knowledgeable in all areas tomato. They love animals. Elv is artistic, attracted to painting and color. Meg is a voracious reader, and a very good student. They sleep in the same bedroom, and are each other's best friends.

    The horrors of the real world intrude on the girls of Arnelle when a bad man hurts Elv, who saves the younger Claire from his clutches. They never tell anyone about "the day the bad thing happened", not even Meg. This bad thing, and her reluctance to tell her mother, causes Elv to act out. Annie is struggling too, "she felt as if everything she did was in halves: half a mother, half a teacher, half a woman". In that one sentence, Hoffman articulates the feelings of so many women.

    Elv begins to believe "that evil repelled evil, while good collected it", and she is determined to become evil in order to expel it from her life. She uses drugs, becomes promiscuous, steals- everything a young woman with low self esteem does to dull her pain. Meg is angered by her sister's behavior, but Claire vows to remain loyal to Elv. Elv's behavior breaks the bonds of sisterhood she so tenderly nurtured.

    Hoffman uses imagery and metaphors so beautifully. When Elv saves a kitten thrown into a river, she tells Claire that she is haunted because she couldn't save a second kitten thrown in. Claire reminds her that it is important that she saved one, but Elv can't get over that she couldn't save the other, echoing the fact that she saved Claire once, but was unable to save herself.

    The author's writing hits home with the reader, as when following a death, Annie's cousin says,"Call me the minute you need something," she told Annie and Claire, but neither of them could think of a single thing they might need that anyone could possibly give them. Everyone who has lost someone knows that exact feeling.

    This is a moving, haunting novel that will make you cry. There is so much sadness, so many tragic things that happen, and we all know people about whom we say, "haven't they suffered enough?" About a good man who becomes involved with the Story family, Hoffman writes: "He stayed in the kitchen with the dog for a while. He covered his face and wept. When he was done, he patted Shiloh's head. This wasn't his house or his family or his dog, but it was his sorrow."

    Hoffman broke my heart with this beautiful story of how secrets can destroy, but ultimately about the power of love to redeem. I became deeply invested in her characters, and will not be able to get them out of my thoughts. It is so powerful, so moving, it is the best of what fiction is.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 6, 2009

    Very dark, disturbing subject matter

    It's Elizabeth Berg meets Jodi Picoult with a touch of haunting plot twists. This book was so disturbing that, when I got to a particular part on the book with yet ANOTHER reference to animal abuse, I threw it in the recycling bin. I didn't even want to donate it or pass it along. This made my nighttime reading habit very dismal, and I found it depressing. From a literary standpoint, however, Alice Hoffman addresses head-on the permanent consequences of temporary acts, and she delves into the behavioral changes and emotional tumult of a family in crisis with startling precision.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Imaginative

    Alice Hoffman weaves an imaginative story. Elv, Meg and Clare are wonderful characters, distinctive in their own stories as they grow up. Elv and Clare are forever bonded by something terrible that happens which cause Elv to pull apart from her family which seems to be the only way she can deal with it. Hoffman is trully a wonderful writer in that she is able to weave a mystical quality into her stories. Happy ending don't always happen no matter how much you want them to. I also loved how the grandmother is the hero as all grandmother's show grace and patience through their experience. This was a great book and I reccomend it to anyone who is a Hoffman fan. It will not disappoint.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 17, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Touching But Sad

    Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors and I have read all of her books over and over again, even the young adult books.

    Unfortunately, this book, The Story Sisters did not provide the right entertainment for me. All through the book I kept asking myself, Why am I still reading this?

    It was sad and dark. Her characters were wonderful especially when the three sisters were young and then it took a dark turn after the first 100 pages.

    I wanted a read that left me feeling hope and goodness prevailed. I was, instead, left sad and depressed.

    I gave it three stars for writing and originality.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 5, 2009

    A brilliant Fairytale

    The Story Sisters is an unforgettable novel, half fairytale, half real life. I couldn't put it down. I rushed to get to the end and now I want to read it again, slowly.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 15, 2012

    Honestly, this is one of my favorite books! I don't understand w

    Honestly, this is one of my favorite books! I don't understand why everyone is saying it left them feeling sad, because I did not find the ending to be that way. I found it hopeful. Feel free to disagree!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    A story that sticks with you til the end; Worth time & money

    "The Story Sisters" is a wonderful book. Once you continue reading it, you become immediately sucked into the fantasy/real world of Elv, Meg, and Claire. The book is divided into 3 acts and it has an unexpected twist. It's great to read before you go to bed. I think everyone can relate to at least one of the three sisters in some way or another. The story explores all emotions from depression, sadness, love, and in the end, happiness. Probably the only flaw is that sometimes the dialogue between the characters is a little corny/over dramatic. Read it slowly to enjoy it!!!!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 8, 2009

    Alice Hoffman's Best

    This is the best book that I have read in over a year. I couldn't put this book down and, when I wasn't reading it, I kept thinking about the characters. This is a very real and believable story. It is one of those books that you read and you know that you will always remember the characters.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 4, 2009

    Heart breaking and beautiful

    Alice Hoffman knows exactly how to break my heart. I was drawn to this novel, in part because Hoffman is one of my favorite writers, but mainly because the subject of sisters hits so close to home for me. This novel is so beautifully written and the characters are vibrant and original. Watching each character meet her individual fate is heart wrenching, yet I couldn't put it down. This book reminded me that while the world is full of sadness, it is also full of small triumphs and that it is the small moments of happiness that make life worth living.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The story of the Storys

    I'm a adament reader of Hoffman's books and she still doesn't disappoint. Far from it. The Story Sisters is yet another story that reminds me why Alice Hoffman is one of my favorite authors. The way she writes and weaves and paints the story is literally a work of art.
    I found that even though the three sisters are different, each of them had traits that I could relate too. It shows how even the people you love do both great and horrible things and the realistic fight to still love them.
    After everything that happened, the ending was very satisfying.
    Well, I'm off to find another Alice Hoffman book. Cheers.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    You will not be disappointed

    I haven't read anything by Alice Hoffman before, but I plan to after reading this. From the first chapter, I could not put it down. I am very hard to please when it comes to books (being an English literature and Creative Writing major will do that...) and very rarely find a book that impresses me so much. The writing syle was remarkable, language fresh, and so original. You must read this book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2014

    I really enjoy Alice Hoffman's books but was quite disappointedi

    I really enjoy Alice Hoffman's books but was quite disappointedin this one.  I did not have her usual wonderful touch of magical realism.  Perhaps if she'd stayed in a more familiar setting instead of this awkward jump to Britain ...

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2014

    Pure magic! A beautifully gifted writer.

    Pure magic! A beautifully gifted writer.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    Could not put it down

    This was her first book i have read. Magical, she made me cry tears of joy and sadness. A jewel of a book !

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2012

    Must Read

    What an incredible novel. Hoffman hit home on so many aspects of my life. Having lived and still living on Long Island really brings it to life. I could just picture the oh so familiar towns.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 26, 2011

    Not just teen angst

    I really loved this book! Each character had depth and flaws. Hoffman did a great job in having the characters grow and change before the reader's eyes . Definetely recommend it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2011

    Great Book Club selection

    I really enjoyed this book. It is well written and an easy read, although the story line is a bit dark. I read this for a book club and we had quite a bit to discuss. Evryone in the group like the book

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  • Posted December 16, 2011

    Three sisters

    I really like this book because I am the oldest sister of three girls. I think what Hoffman was trying to point out was that even if all girls were in a same situation and had the same lifestyle, they still wound up differently. This I would very much agree with.

    And to the person that said something about animal abuse, I really don't know what positive light that was put on the subject. I think you just wanted an excuse to not read a book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    A book you can't put down

    This book was hard to put down and when you had to the characters staid with you. I can't wait to see what else she has written.

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