Wednesday, December 22, 2010

What the Almighty Demands

Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters

Written by: Natalie Standiford

Released: September 1, 2010 by Scholastic Press

Summary: The Sullivan sisters have a big problem. On Christmas Day their rich and imperious grandmother gathers the family and announces that she will soon die . . . and has cut the entire family out of her will. Since she is the source of almost all their income, this means they will soon be penniless.

Someone in the family has offended her deeply. If that person comes forward with a confession of her (or his) crime, submitted in writing to her lawyer by New Year's Day, she will reinstate the family in her will. Or at least consider it.

And so the confessions begin...

When I first started to read this book I had my doubts that I would enjoy it. But since I received it through Good Golly Miss Holly’s ARC tour and I had to send it along to the next stop, I knew that I had to at least give it a try and finish it even if I wasn’t completely into it. After all, there are only so many woe-is-me-the-poor-little-rich-girl stories that a person can read without being completely sick of them.

This book is separated into five parts. The first and the last serve as an opening to the entire situation and then the grand finale. The middle three are taken from each perspective of the Sullivan girls; Norrie, Jane and Sassy in order of age. It was Norrie’s part that made me think that I wouldn’t really care for this. Really, I just couldn’t relate to her in any way. But then I read Jane’s part and I don’t know if it was because she was a blogger or her beliefs on Catholic school, but I just connected with her completely. Sassy’s part was just a nice read that made me both laugh and cry a little.

I liked the idea of this book, but when I read the reason for the confessions I gave a little sigh and shook my head at the absurdness of Almighty (the grandmother) and immediately knew that I would like her character. But, no matter how it came to be, having the three letters partnered with the following narrative served as a great way to see into each story, each confession. It was interesting to see the prelude to the next confession hidden in the previous and to see the information grow as each sister had her turn telling her story.

The characters in this novel were a little one-dimensional, though I think that that added to what the story was trying to portray since when the stories were combined they made a rather three-dimensional read. Too, each sister portrayed one archetypal role within the realm of characters: Norrie was the tired older sister wanting to make her own decisions for her own life, Jane was the rebel who wanted to shock and awe, and poor Sassy was the youngest girl whose family life made her own thoughts a little confused.

In the end I enjoyed this book, though maybe not as much as I first anticipated. Still, it was a great way to spend an evening winding down from work. Overall, I’m giving it a 6/10 and I would recommend it to anyone who wants a nice read for some winter night.

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