On the heels of her poignant and critically acclaimed memoirs, Waiting and Raising Blaze, Debra Ginsberg explores the unique connection she shares with her three sisters.
In About My Sisters, Ginsberg examines the special bond she shares with her three sisters, May, Lavander and Deja. As her hippie parents criss-crossed the globe, Debra, the oldest of five children, formed indelible bonds with her three sisters that last to this day. Separated by fifteen years among them, Debra and her sisters represent two different generations, each one of them having something to teach the other. Debra and Maya (the next oldest) became not only babysitters, but also playmates, problem solvers, teachers and surrogate mothers to the youngest two. And the shared experience of being the children of an unconventional, dope-smoking, non-career oriented, nomadic couple bonded them even more.
Structured around the course of one year, About My Sisters examines these bonds through the prism of the events of that year, revealing not only a "different" family, but also a unique and amazing relationship that has weathered many storms but never foundered. The four sisters (as well as their parents and brother) still live within ten miles of one another and share meals, holidays, joys, pains, and babysitting duties with an astounding frequency. This is a heart-warming, funny, and poignant look at a family that's much like the one we all wish we had..
Ginsberg is on her way to becoming a professional memoirist: she's penned books on raising a child, her life as a waitress, and now, on her eccentric, close-knit family, focusing on sisterhood. With eloquence, deep feeling and altruism, Ginsberg (Waiting; Raising Blaze) depicts the life of her family through a year of celebrations and crises. Each event unleashes a cascade of memories that circle back, by the end of each chapter, to expose a particular facet of the four sisters' complicated relations with one another and the rest of the family. Ginsberg writes of her youngest sister D ja's ability to cure her driving phobia; Lavendar's talent for getting Ginsberg's son to act responsibly; the exalted position of her brother in a family of girls; the family's competitiveness; and her lifelong intimacy with her sister Maya, with whom she lives: "I never even put 'sister' before her name when I talk about her. She is the part of me who is Maya." Ginsberg seems to be answering a math problem: with two parents, five grown children, one grandchild and a varying number of boyfriends, how many different combinations are possible? As parents, children and siblings group and regroup in the complex dance of family relationships, each individual's soul emerges. Quarrels often erupt during the family's frequent get-togethers, but never for a moment will readers doubt their loyalty to one another. Ginsberg's nonfiction is as entertaining as a novel, but its greatest achievement is showing how love is not an emotion but an action, living and growing.