A Gift for My Sister: A Novel

A Gift for My Sister: A Novel

by Ann Pearlman


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A Gift for My Sister: A Novel by Ann Pearlman

From the author of The Christmas Cookie Club, a touching novel about two sisters struggling to understand the meaning of family.

Ann Pearlman's The Christmas Cookie Club enthralled readers everywhere with a heartwarming and touching story about the power of female friendship.

Now, in A Gift for My Sister, she once again explores the depth of the human heart, and this time it’s through the eyes of two sisters. Tara and Sky share a mother, but aside from that they seem to differ in almost every way. When a series of tragedies strikes, they must somehow come together in the face of heartbreak, dashed hopes, and demons of the past. The journey they embark on forces each woman to take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine what sisterhood really means to them. It’s a long road to understanding, and everyone who knows them hopes these two sisters can find a way back to each other.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781439159491
Publisher: Atria/Emily Bestler Books
Publication date: 05/01/2012
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 6.36(w) x 9.08(h) x 1.02(d)

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.

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A Gift for My Sister 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 10 reviews.
Bex_n_Books More than 1 year ago
I can say one thing about 60% into the book I was doing some serious yelling at the books Author in my head and saying if you kill off one person so help me god I’m going to scream! I truly did have a unique bond with Sky due to my own personal life and tragedies. And I have also a keen understanding of where they live since I lived in Flint Michigan for many, many years. I can understand the bigotry and racism that Tara and Aaron must deal with and the fears they have for their son Levy. I have to say one thing I truly enjoyed her thoughts that you should love regardless, not to the destruction of yourself, but in spite of yourself. I will say I felt the story had far too much death in it for my own personal tastes, but that could once again be due to my own life and the pure number of deaths that have happened in our family in the last 2 years. I also can say truthfully that while I didn’t “enjoy” this read I did enjoy the ending and I did enjoy the fact that it wasn’t a true story. I also can say I did enjoy the way the author looked at the exact same space in time through BOTH sisters’ eyes by breaking it into separate chapters unique to each sister. So while you had read something just seconds before it took on a whole new depth when you saw how the other sister saw the same situation. This is indeed what I always believed that BOTH sides of a story must be told for a person to know what honestly happened, because somewhere in the middle is where the truth of the situation lies. This book was a fabulous mix of past and present and told in such a manner that you never wondered. The sisters travel along their paths merging and separating until these paths finally merge to show just how close a bond there is with sisters, and that family is there for you when you need it. Pearlman did a fabulous job on character creation and you feel as if the characters are actual family members or friends. The emotions this author can pull from you is amazing and the love that the sisters have for their children shines on through the darkest of times. The pain, the suffering, the laughter and the love are all shared by the reader and I praise Pearlman for her wonderful job of sucking me into the story. This story is sentimental, and full of conflict, it is about life’s hardships and how the two sisters can deal with these hardships to become closer. It is a story about sisters and family, loss and abandonment, love and most of all forgiveness. I can recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t mind reading about life’s hardships or a book that can and will spark a dozen different thoughts and emotions. While it was a rough ride for me personally since my own personal tragedies were far too close to those suffered by Sky, I can still honestly say I think this is what I classify as a must read. Written by Condygurl for Bex 'n' Books.
kainshottie More than 1 year ago
A Gift For My Sister is a story about tragedy, family, and overcoming the odds. Every chapter has two sections, one from Tara;s perspective (the younger sister) and one from Sky's perspective (the older sister). Sky is the result of a very loving marriage that was shattered by the unexpected death of her father. A little after this tragedy, Sky's mother remarried and had Tara. Unfortunately,Tara's father was a philanderer. He left the family when Tara was fairly young and remarried only to cheat on that wife as well. Both girls essentially grew up fatherless. Their mother was much closer to Sky than Tara which has been the root of some of their sibling issues. Sky was the good girl who always did what mom said and always had a plan. She followed her goals to a fault. However, things typically worked out for her until she tried to have a baby. Her luck with having children was terrible and resulted in miscarriages, a still born, and finally one healthy baby. Since this was out of her control, her mother was always there to love and care for Sky. Tara saw this as one more thing that brought mother and daughter closer and took her mother away from her. This story starts off with Sky's learning to live without her best friend who had just died of a very young age (due to fertility meds) and now her husband is deathly ill at 28 years old as well. As you can see, Sky has had a lot of heartache and loss in her 27 years. Tara didn't really understand how all this loss affected her until Sky's husband actually dies. Tara is the one to pick her up off the ground and put her life on a track rather than leaving Sky to drift aimlessly. From Tara's perspective, we learn that she is the rebellious teenager who is just wanting attention. She mostly wants her father's attention because she feels that Sky has all their mother's attention. Unfortunately, her father truly does not care about her. She ends up falling in love with an ex-child convict at 15 and gets pregnant at 17. Since she has always felt like her mother didn't really want her, she moves in with Aaron before finishing high school. The only real problem with this (since Aaron is very willing to take care of her and his baby) is that Tara is a white girl and Aaron is black. Tara essentially gives up her white life and immerses herself in the black community because of her love and because of her music. You see, the driving force behind Tara is that she has a need to create music. It is a part of her that cannot be ignored. Aaron understands this and together they create a rap group. This story demonstrates how two opposite worlds can join together and even understand one another through Special Intent (the rap group). They become the rock that Sky needs to move past all her loss. While on tour, they take Sky and her daughter Rachel into their family and move them across the country. Both sisters had a lot of problems with each other. One never felt the loss of the other and Sky never saw Tara as having to have a hard life in any way. Their road trip teaches them a lot about themselves and each other. You will need to read the book to actually learn what "the gift" is because I think I have already shared more than enough with you! Read more reviews at Identity Discovery Blog.
b00kr3vi3ws More than 1 year ago
Sky and Tara are half-sisters who share the same mother. The difference in their age and their individual personalities make them seem like anything but sisters. They each have their own issues and quirks. Sky, who remembers her own father as a loving person, looks at her relationship with her husband differently than Tara, who remembers her father as an unfaithful man who left them behind for another woman. Sky’s need for security matches Tara’s need to belong. When tragedy strikes Sky’s life repeatedly and she loses her best friend, her job and her husband in a small span of time, she is left feeling alone and distraught. Tara steps in, going out of her way, and makes sure that Sky is taken care of. Sky taking a road trip with Tara and her band is just the beginning of a journey of self-discovery and connecting with family for both the sisters. What happens? Do the sisters realize that they are not so different after all? Well, you have to read the book to have to take this journey along with the sisters and understand their perspectives. I do not have any sisters and so I personally do not know much about the relationship between sisters. I only know from watching others around me that it is much like any other sibling relationship. The love-hate aspects, the fights, the secret sharing and the love between siblings are the best things in a person’s life. No matter how similar you are or how different you are, it is simply impossible to deny the natural bond. This book basically explores that very bond. Sky and Tara are only half sisters, but they are sisters. No matter how different they thought they are, no matter how alienated things felt growing up – when Sky needed support Tara was there for her. They finally got to actually knowing each other and understanding each other’s perspectives. While it was really a great experience to see the sisters trying to find their way to each other, I personally didn’t like either of the sisters that much. They were both bit too self-centered for my liking. This book will take you on a very emotional journey of love, loss and tragedy. I loved the foundation of the story and there is no denying that I loved the author’s languid style of storytelling.
PamT2u More than 1 year ago
I trudged through this book. I did not enjoy the book. I felt as if the story dragged on with no real point in sight. I think a story about Tara alone may have made more interesting reading. The storyline feels contrived. I never connected to any of the characters. The perceived conflict(sisters not respecting each others differences) is wrapped up tidily at the end but seems unrealistic.
sunshinejenn03 More than 1 year ago
A Gift for My Sister leaves you emotionally raw and rips your heart to shreds…before putting it back together in such a way that you know you’ll never be the same again. Because this is a story that, once you’ve finished it and set it aside, takes a piece of your heart with it. 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.
Icecream18JA More than 1 year ago
Half sisters, Tara and Sky, lead totally different lives, seem to have totally different personalities; yet, when Sky goes through heartbreaking loss, it is Tara who supports her and helps her to heal. Traveling through many states, stopping so Tara’s band can play their concerts, Sky experiences the prejudice that Tara and her partner/lover experience in racially charged circumstances. 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.
June41 More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story and appreciate the authors knowledge of physiologic and how that adds to the story and makes it real. Also I loved that the book ended with the Sister's keeping their Mother's tradition of the Christmas Cookie Club but with a new twist of adding the family. I can't wait for the author's next book to be published. There is so much between the lines that I would recommend this for a book club discussion.
skstiles612 More than 1 year ago
Sky and Tara are half sisters. Sky's father died when she was young. Her mother remarried and Tara was born. Tara's father left them to chase after other women. Both of their father's shaped their lives. Sky has issues with needing to feel secure. She is a perfectionist. Tara has always felt like she didn't fit in with her family. She has trust issues when it comes to men. Both of them have children they would do anything for. On the day Sky loses her job her husband ends up in the hospital. At the same time Tara's band is hitting the road for their first tour across the United States. When her brother-in-law dies, she takes control of things and helps to move her sister and niece back to Michigan. They will take the long way back because Tara's group is still touring. During this trip the two sister must discover how much they are alike, how much they really know about each other, and how much they really love each other if they are ever going to be able to have a sisterly relationship. I enjoyed this book. There were seven years between my oldest sister and myself. We were so much alike. She is gone now but we had such a great relationship. One of my younger sisters and I had a very rocky relationship. Like Tara my sister was very musically talented. She always did her own thing. I was the studious one who had to have everything in its place and organized. When my first marriage fell apart she was haughty about how I was no different that she was with her failed marriages. She had no idea that I had envied the way she had so much courage to do what she had to do to survive. After our oldest sister died we became closer. She said she always envied my ability to learn so quickly. I could see so many parallels between the sisters in this book and my sister and myself. There were so many lessons to be learned. I look forward to reading more from this author.
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
How strong is a bond between sisters, even if they are only half sisters? I think through this book you find that sharing a mom is a bond that can overcome almost anything. Tara and Sky are half sisters who have lived through quite a few disappointments in each of their lives, but they don't realize what emotions each sister has had to live through until a true tragedy hits and they are on a road trip of sorts. Being a sister this book hit real close to my heart. Although my sister and I have not faced the level of personal struggle that these characters have, I saw in them the difference that sisters can be affected by the same situation. Ann Pearlman does a magnificent job of switching between the two characters to show the full story, at one point the characters describe the same fight and how intriguing to see how each one "heard" the fight. The descriptions of feelings, people and places were just spot on, it made me feel like I could really see it, but I wasn't overwhelmed by it at all. A sweet companion novel to The Christmas Cookie Club. It was great to see a larger story come out of a book that I loved so much that I plan on rereading during the holidays again this year.
Regis_Schilken More than 1 year ago
In this imaginative story, A GIFT FOR MY SISTER, two half sisters learn how lovingly human the other is through incidents that would seem to drive them apart. Young Tara becomes pregnant while still in high school and runs off with the leader of a rap band. Her personality and hip language would, in so many ways, remind the reader of a deliberately belligerent uncouth teen striking out with pounding rap to show the world just how totally experienced and independent she is. Like so many confrontational youth of Tara’s type who broadcast through music that they have tasted life’s full potential when in fact, what she’s tasted is the thinnest wedge life’s pie has to offer, Tara and her child moves around with her rap friends. But this woman is lucky. Both she and her musical group are, indeed, talented. They are arriving at the very edge of success through various triumphal on-stage tours. In A GIFT FOR MY SISTER, Sky’s personality is the exact archetype of Tara’s rebellious, in many ways—unpleasant—character. Sky lives in a splendid townhouse along beautiful beachfront property. She has reached success as an outstanding lawyer. Like her sister, Sky, also, has a child by a faithful husband she adores. To this woman, husband and child mean everything. She has arrived at the pinnacle of success and hopes to stay there. But Sky’s success is short-lived. Because of financial reasons, the law firm that employs her must shrink its size. Her job is eliminated. Next, Sky finds that the husband she cannot live without has contracted some type of MRSA. Hospital technicians and laboratory chemists are unable to design a type of antibiotic to counterattack what seemed, at first, to be a small local skin infection, but it spreads rapidly. The methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria (MRSA) cannot be killed. Sky will die and does. In a very touching scene in the hospital, Sky’s dying husband makes her sisterTara vow to take care of Sky who will certainly need comfort and support. Now the two sisters’ personalities are forced together. At first, Tara treats Sky with appropriate pity and Sky accepts it. It is necessary. But sooner or later, pity alone will not provide a successful lifestyle for two sisters. In A GIFT FOR MY SISTER, Conflict arises as surely as the friction between two pieces of sandpaper. Here is where this reviewer will leave the reader to discover for her/himself how these two sisters eventually deal with their own lives. Will the opposition between their characters dissolve, or will genuine soul searching force each sister to simply go her own way? All in all, the characters in A GIFT FOR MY SISTER are very well developed, so much so, that I found Tara’s immature personality disagreeable from the beginning of the book. Sky, on the other hand, seemed to fit my idea of an adult. I would recommend this book to any reader seeking a story where audacity and courage force two very different women to uncover their inner souls and continue on.