I have found I enjoy reading books about sisters (or friends who are like sisters) and the sometimes complex relationship that exists between them. Some of my favorites include The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, The Girls and In Her Shoes.
As an aside, my sister even read the e.e. cumings poem I Carry Your Heart at our rehearsal dinner. This poem has special significance for us. In fact, her Christmas gift last year was a charm necklace that I had engraved with "I carry your heart" on the back of it.
My sister was my maid of honor at our wedding and I consider us to be very close both as sisters and as friends. Maybe this is why I struggled with I See You Everywhere at the beginning, because I had a hard time relating to sisters who did not treat each other very well and seemed to have a fairly negative albeit real relationship.
I am probably getting a bit ahead of myself here. The novel is about two sisters, Clem (short for Clement) and Louisa, and it follows their life over a roughly twenty year period. In the beginning, in each of the chapters, the narrator bounced back and forth between the two sisters. As the novel went on, some of the chapters were told solely from the prospective of one of the sisters. Louisa is a potter and sculptor but while she is the more artistic of the two, she is also more grounded. Clem is a free spirit biologist whose wanderlust takes her around the world.
Each chapter jumped ahead in time, sometimes a year, sometimes more, but this was never consistent. It always took a few minutes of reading to figure out how much time had passed and what had happened to the characters since that time. I actually liked this approach and it made for a very interesting read as it kept me on my toes!
Spoiler ahead. Do not highlight the text below if you have not read the book or wish the story to be spoiled!
I have to admit I was shocked when Clem died. I thought for sure with Louisa's cancer that she would be the one to go but maybe that was the point. The chapters after Clem commits suicide were touching, real and very raw. I was a bit disheartened that Clem and Louisa came to a greater understanding and acceptance of each other for such a short time before Clem's death. It seemed so tragic and such a waste. I was happy that Louisa got what she needed at the end of the novel: comfort, healing and understanding with another suicide survivor, her husband.
Before reading this novel, I never understood how two sisters like Olivia de Havilland and Joan Fontaine could go years (since 1975 to be exact) without speaking. I See You Everywhere helped me understand how lucky I am to I have such a good relationship with my sister and how years of misunderstandings and grudges can poison a relationship, even among sisters.
Add my relationship with my sister to the list of things I am grateful this Thanksgiving!
I definitely recommend this book and will be adding other books the author, Julia Glass, has written to my reading list!