The Almost Sisters

The Almost Sisters

Book - 2017
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"With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality--the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are. Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman. It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy--an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood. Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows"-- Provided by publisher
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, [2017]
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780062105714
006210571X
Characteristics: 342 pages ; 24 cm

Opinion

From Library Staff

Swept off her feet by a costumed man
at a comics convention, a graphic
novelist discovers that she is pregnant
with a biracial child and avoids telling
her conventional Southern family
while assisting her elderly grandmother, who has
been hiding a dangerous secret linked to the Civil
War.


From the critics


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BPLpicks Nov 03, 2018

Leia Birch Briggs, a successful comic book illustrator, discovers that she’s pregnant after a one-night stand. Her own problem is soon overshadowed by those of her conventional Southern family: her sister’s marriage is in shambles and her grandmother has been hiding her advancing dementia with the help of a close friend. Just when Leia thinks she has a plan to help them all, a family secret comes to light that changes everything. The quirky characters, southern charm, and humor perfectly offset the weightier themes of racism, illness, and family conflict. The audiobook is brilliantly read by the author and brings the characters to life.

m
MaryJoSchifsky
Jul 14, 2018

Read Jul 2018--story about two southern women, sisters thru rape of a slave serving the master in the family home in Birchwood. Narrated by granddaughter.

d
deependgirl
Jun 27, 2018

I think I have read all her books. my favorite is Gods in Alabama.

this got a bit too HMMM... I got bored. it felt disjointed for me.
I felt like Leia thinks I don't remember the story she told a few chapters ago... or how her baby feels inside her body.. or how the small southern town has those phone trees.... or how they all make casseroles.... how small town gossip works.... once is enough for me.. Leia started to become annoying.. like someone who has to keep telling you the same thing over and over and you feel like saying "I KNOW THIS ALREADY"
I listened to the audio book and found myself fast forwarding. To me that was a big sign that this book was not quite my cuppa tea.

rthomson1954 May 09, 2018

Another hit out of the park for Joshilyn Jackson, this spicy work of southern fiction features Leia, a somewhat shy thirty-something cartoonist who finds herself pregnant following a chance encounter with Batman at a Comicon convention. Leia drives to Alabama to check in on her Grandma, Birchie, who has developed dementia, and a family secrets begin to reveal themselves like flowers poking out of the ground, only not all are lovely to behold. Like most of her work it is rich with well developed characters, quirky humor and southern charm.

Chapel_Hill_TracyB Apr 27, 2018

I've loved Joshilyn's work from the beginning, and yet The Almost Sisters still amazed me with its thoughtful consideration of the importance race plays in modern life, especially in the South. Leia has an interesting mix of acceptance and acknowledgement of her own point of view versus that of those around her. And speaking of those around her, Leia also vacillates in her feelings towards her step-sister, Rachel. They share a long and complicated history as all sisters do, but their differences frequently keep them on opposite sides.

Yet the real almost sisters referenced in the title are Leia's grandmother Birchie and Birchie's, well, everything, Wattie. Best friends since they were little, Birchie and Wattie now live together, protecting each others as sisters would do. That relationship is drawn to be one of the loveliest I've seen in a long time.

As I expected, these are people and a place I didn't want to leave. Those who love fully-fleshed, multi-leveled, neither good nor bad characters who, like the rest of us, are a bit of both, will love the honesty that Joshilyn uncovers in how we think about who we are and what we do.

l
lola_jane
Apr 26, 2018

Light humour, quirky but lovable characters, and a whole lot of southern charm keep what could otherwise be a heavy story moving and uplifting.
The audiobook, narrated by the author, is very well done.

d
dradmol
Dec 19, 2017

Wonderful story, wonderfully written. Was very good at illustrating the two very different souths, as well defining unconditional love. Well worth the read.

c
Chapel_Hill_KatieJ
Oct 13, 2017

While this book had its moments, it was too disjointed. Leia is an unexpectedly pregnant, 38 year old comic book creator. It’s frustrating that she doesn’t even seem to have any idea what the heroes that she created are or represent. How is she successful if she doesn’t seem to understand her own creations? The mystery about her family’s decades long secret is not handled well. The book seems to want to say something important about race and Southern history, but in the end it’s all brushed aside to showcase quirky old ladies. The best part of the book is the complex relationship between Leia and her step-sister Rachel. Both of them feel a lot of resentment towards each other, but they also show how much they are willing to do for each other.

a
ailenemc
Oct 04, 2017

Couldn't finish the book - likeable people making bad decisions....

e
eandtheboys
Sep 27, 2017

Joshilyn Jackson has written another wonderful book. I am not a "Nerd" but I loved the references to comic super heroes and the story Leia told with her comic V in V. I also appreciate how it ended, sometimes the end can feel abrupt, but this felt soft, giving us enough of the future to see how we would want it to continue... "You don't see it, but next happens anyway and always. With or without you."

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