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Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Review - Connie Briscoe's SISTERS AND LOVERS and a small detour to Mannar

Beverley, Charmaine and Evelyn three sisters living in Maryland - all wishing their lives would be different. The three sisters are all different - Evelyn, educated wealthier than her sisters, a husband who seems steady, well employed. Charmaine with a lying, drug taking husband who does not seem to even accidentally tell the truth, and then you get Beverley single turning 30, desperate not to be alone. All three want the security of a partner and marriage even though the partner could be the most undesirable person around! The fear of being alone, growing old without a husband is paramount in the sisters minds.

The bickering between three grown up sisters is unbelievable. I do know that sisters quarrel - but for grown up women to bicker and irritate each other was not quite right. Anything could trigger it off and everything was an implied criticism of each other. The complexity of human relationships is very apparent in this book. The sisters do love each other, they do support each other but they are envious of Evelyn and her money, they are each critical of Clarence who is a dead beat and who they feel is a drain on Charmaine and each sister seems to think that she knows best where everything is concerned.

Evelyn has two children, wants to do a P.Hd and Charmaine just wants to get back to college eventually and finish her degree. Beverley just wants to get married. Things unravel in each sister's life - Charmaine discovers Clarence taking his lying and prevarication to another level, Beverley discovers Vernon cheating on her and for the first time starts a relationship with a white man, and Evelyn discovers faults in Kevin never seen before.

What is also very remarkable in this story is that the world is divided into two categories. them and us. Black and white. Whether it is a pretty girl, a neighbourhood, eating habits, clothes, whatever - in this book it is distinctly marked and the girls themselves live with the feeling that they are always going to be second class citizens, they seem to have a chip on their shoulder and always having to fight for what they want, or what they feel is their due.

A very, very interesting read for me. My experience/knowledge of racial integration or rather segregation is limited so for me educational as well.

My last weekend was spent in Mannar - a ten hour journey away from Colombo. Mannar is where we have an orphanage for girls. The place is dry, arid and desert like but the place where the orphanage is built is like a little oasis. A sea of green amidst the brown. All because water channels from a huge tank nearby run through this land. As a result agriculture can be done year around - the home is already self sufficient in rice, onion cultivation along with chillies is going on apace and things seem so settled.

A few photographs from there.

At lunch.

Some of the smaller children.

Children getting ready to go to the temple on their bikes. It was a special festival day on Saturday.

This weekend is exciting for me. We leave on Sunday for Singapore. My son is going with us and will then proceed to Melbourne. My second girl in Melbourne will join us in Singapore and return home with us.


Blodeuedd said...

Ohh what is that yellow food? So colourful :) I like it.

Btw if you have any easy recipes then do post them ;) But yes easy so I can find ingredients cos I just love spicy food

CHE said...

Sounds like you have a lovely vacation planned with your family. Have a wonderful time.

Christina T said...

I am not familiar with this book though the author is popular. Really nice review. Have you read The Help by Kathryn Stockett? I read it recently and thought it was excellent.

Thank you for sharing the pictures from your orphanage. I am glad that things are going well there.

My parents and sister just got back from their trip to Sri Lanka. They were in Colombo part of the time and visited Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Matale (where my mom is from), and Jaffna. My dad is originally from Jaffna and it is the first time he's been back in 30+ years so it was really hard for him to see it. I haven't been to Sri Lanka since I was a baby but hope to go someday. My dad says he wants to go again in a few years and maybe we'll go to Singapore too. I've heard it is beautiful.

Have a safe trip to Singapore and enjoy the time with your family!

bermudaonion said...

The book sounds interesting. I enjoy reading books like that because I like to know how other people feel.

Your trips sound like loads of fun!

Marie said...

thanks for sharing this, and the photos from the orphanage. they're doing God's work taking care of those kids.