Posts Tagged ‘sisters’

I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass was another selection from this year’s annual county library sale. Why did I pick it up?

Several reasons. One, I loved the title. All you can see at the book sale are the titles in the way they are arranged. That title drew my attention because of the many possibilities of what it might be about. Two, I was totally drawn to the cover, with this magnificent pitcher of crackled turquoise glass and the seashell. So simple, and yet so arresting. And, I just realized as I write this, each of these two objects may symbolize the two main characters.

Three, the storyline. I was intrigued by the story of two sisters, four years apart, so totally different and how they grew both individually and in their relationship to each other over 25 years. (I also picked I See You Everywhere because a fellow writer has a middle grade novel of two sisters, twins actually, and I thought this might be helpful to her in her characterization.) So an unknown book and author that can appeal on numerous levels right off the bat? A good thing!

The story starts when Clem is still in college and Louisa graduated and beginning a career. Louisa is the conservative and conscientious sister who yearns for a career in art, a good marriage and a family. Clem, 4 years younger, is a rebel who takes on adventurous assignments working with animals in faraway places, daring, and not one to settle down with any one man. Louisa’s and Clem’s stories are told in first person, present tense, alternating between the two sisters. How they move through their lives and their feelings about each other reveals their own personal issues, their challenges, their sisterly resentments, jealousies, and compassion for one another.

I found this to be a very well-written novel. I’ve never read Julia Glass before, but she has a National Book Award behind her for Three Junes, and has written another novel as well. Her use of language is lovely, and I enjoyed that immensely. I was able to identify more readily with one of the characters, though both are entirely relatable, and that character – Clem – drew me in more perhaps for what wasn’t said than what was. This was a good read.

The only thing I noticed, and this was probably only because I just finished How to Save A Life by Sara Zarr, is that I felt I was always reading the author’s voice, not the individual character. What really wowed me about Zarr’s YA novel, also two females, (teens), written first person, present, is that whether you read Mandy or Jill, you always felt they were writing their own chapters. This is no small feat, and I was truly impressed.  In I See You Everywhere, although I was reading Clem or Louisa’s thoughts, it seemed the same beautiful language either way. Happily, it is beautifully written, but following on the heels of Sara Zarr’s book, it was something I noticed.

As for the story, I did enjoy it. I cared about Louisa and Clem. I enjoyed watching them grow, deal with heartache and pain, challenges, successes and failures. The story takes a twist at the end that I never saw coming, and I’m still not sure how it’s sitting with me. But that the author has me thinking about it after I’ve moved on to my next read … well, that says something about a good storyteller.

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