Friday, May 17, 2013

Top ten books about siblings

Gwyneth Rees is half Welsh and half English and grew up in Scotland. She is a child and adolescent psychiatrist but has now stopped practicing so that she can write full-time. She is the author of many bestselling books, including the Fairies series, the Cosmo series and the Marietta’s Magic Dress Shop series, as well as several books for older readers. Rees’s new books, My Super Sister and My Super Sister and the Birthday Party mark the start of an exciting new series about two sisters, Emma and Saffie, who have superpowers.

For the Guardian, Rees named her ten favorite books about siblings. One title on the list:
Pride and Prejudice by Charlotte Bronte – Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia

Obviously this one differs from the others on my list in that it is not a children's book. However, it is a book I first read as a teenager - and one in which siblings abound. I must have read it two or three times since and I still have the same feelings about the five Bennet sisters - that they represent both the best and the worst aspects of having siblings. Much as I envy the warm, confiding relationship between the two elder sisters, I think I'd rather be an only child than have to grow up alongside any of the other three. Again, the sisters are all very distinct from each other, with the relationship between Elizabeth and Jane being, in my opinion, one of the strongest and most memorable sibling bonds in literature. Also interesting is the contrasting, more formal sibling relationship found between Mr Darcy and his much younger sister Georgiana.
Read about another book on the list.

Pride and Prejudice also appears on the Observer's list of the ten best fictional mothers, Paula Byrne's list of the ten best Jane Austen characters, Robert McCrum's list of the top ten opening lines of novels in the English language, a top ten list of literary lessons in love, Simon Mason's top ten list of fictional families, Cathy Cassidy's top ten list of stories about sisters, Paul Murray's top ten list of wicked clerics, John Mullan's lists of ten of the best housekeepers in fiction, ten great novels with terrible original titles, and ten of the best visits to Brighton in literature, Luke Leitch's top ten list of the most successful literary sequels ever, and is one of the top ten works of literature according to Norman Mailer. Richard Price has never read it, but it is the book Mary Gordon cares most about sharing with her children.

The Page 99 Test: Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.

--Marshal Zeringue