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A Reader of Fictions: Three Is a Magic Number - Blind Melon

A Reader of Fictions

Book Reviews for Just About Every Kind of Book

Monday, June 27, 2011

Three Is a Magic Number - Blind Melon

The Orphan Sister

Author: Gwendolen Gross
Pages: 283
ARC Acquired from: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Brief Summary:
Clementine is a triplet, a fraternal sister accompanying identical twins. She has always felt a bit left out of their perfect relationship. Although she has some of the twinspeak, Olivia and Odette sometimes talk without her in their silent language. This is how it has always been, but now, with the mysterious disappearance of their father and her sisters' imminent deliveries of their first children things are beginning to change. Clem has to reevaluate much of her life to this point and figure out who she wants to be in the future.

Going into this, I didn't really have any expectations, but was hesitantly hopeful it might be interesting. I really didn't know anything about it, except that the triplet thing. I am happy to report that The Orphan Sister was about so much more than that. This story grabbed me from page one and I devoured it whole, the funny, the sweet, the romantic, the depressing and even the scenes about babies (which for me is saying something).

Clem has such a real voice that you really feel like you're getting to know her. She is intelligent and angry, broken and hopeful. There are so many facets to who she is and her problems feel like real life problems. Her hangups about being left out while also being afraid of the current balance falling apart are so illogical and lifelike. Of course, who doesn't like a heroine who has a veritable menagerie of creatures: two dogs, a ferret and a snake (a five foot boa constrictor).

The triplet/twin themes are used to explore concepts of individuality and identity. Are the twins stronger because they have each other or is Clem stronger because she's naturally more independent? The twin way of communicating was also completely fascinating. I wonder if people really do that, and suspect they might, which makes me wonder just what the human brain is capable of...

The other main aspects of the story deal with romantic relationships, that of Clem's mother and father, as well as Clem's love life. The former's resolution I did not find entirely satisfying exactly, but it was unsatisfying in a true to life way; everything does not always have a really good ending. Clem's love life involves a lot of grief, since her first, powerful love died while they were both still in college (where they met). This incapacitated her for a long while, but, even after recovering, it's hard to get over someone you never had a chance to encounter real life with.

This book was so beautiful and moving and was just perfect for what I wanted to read right now, even though I didn't realize that going in. Maybe I should be reading a bit more adult fiction; I've gotten so caught up in YA that I'd forgotten how great it can be.

"With the past and the present and the future
And faith and hope and charity
And the heart and the brain and the body
It'll give you three; it's a magic number"

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Anonymous Italia said...

Gross tells Clementine's story beautifully, keeping the reader totally engaged throughout the entire book. The pacing is brilliant, with just the right mix of dialogue, drama, and beautiful language to keep the plot moving, the characters developing, and the reader enthralled.

April 20, 2012 at 11:18 AM  
Blogger Christina said...

Yay! A fellow lover of this book! I've seen some meh reviews or even seriously didn't like it ones. I'm glad I'm not the only one, although that wouldn't change my opinion. But Gwendolen Gross deserves props!

April 20, 2012 at 11:21 AM  

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