Sunday, November 2, 2008

Review: I See You Everywhere

In I See You Everywhere, author Julia Glass takes readers on the journeys of two sisters, as different as possible, over 25 years, from their early 20s to middle age.

Older sister Louisa Jardine is the smart one, the practical one, neurotic, an artist who dreams of a stable life and family.

Clem Jardine, on the other hand, is a rebel, a nomad, an animal lover, the favorite of her parents, daring, reckless with hearts, scornful of a conventional existence.

Told in alternating voices, the story carries the sisters over multitudes of cities, men (and more men), jobs, and crises. Neither one wants the life the other one has, and they struggle to find common ground. Theirs is a fractured relationship, but just as easily as they are pulled apart, they are drawn back together again.

Louisa finally settles in New York, Clem in Wyoming, but their lives are far from stable. Each has more struggles ahead of them, more adversity to face, and they will need each other more than ever.

I wondered how the book would end, as their lives continued to change over time, and it came to a dramatic conclusion that took my breath away.

I love novels about sisters and the ever-evolving nature of the relationship. The parameters are constantly changing, responding to the various stages in life. Roles reverse, leadership shifts.

When I was in college and my sister in high school, we had one relationship. When she got married and I was still dating, we had another. She became a mother and I became a wife within two months of each other, and with those two big changes, our relationship changed yet again.

Accurately characterizing the relationships between women, particularly family members, without being trite is no small feat, and Glass is adept at this portrayal. She does a brilliant job at breaking down the complexities of sisters and how the dynamic between them changes over the years.

8 comments:

Mary said...

Great review. Being the oldest of seven sisters I will be reading this very soon. You're right about the changing dynamics over the years. I read her previous two novels and I'm looking forward to this one!

bermudaonion said...

Thanks for the review. This book is on my wish list.

Diane said...

Oh wow, what a great review. This will be my next read after I finish: Telex From Cuba; Kurshner.

sheIsTooFondOfBooks said...

Jill - this is a very well-written perspective on *I See You Everywhere* and the relationships of sisters.

I was fortunate to attend an author event with Julia Glass recently, where she read from this book and discussed her inspirations. There's an audio clip on my blog.
www.sheIsTooFondOfBooks.com

S. Krishna said...

Great review! I have a sister, which makes me want to read this one more than ever!

Serena said...

This sounds like a great read, and I just love how crisp the cover looks. The colors and images just pop on this one.

Red lady-Bonnie said...

Wonderful Review Jill! I can't wait to read this book. I loved The Whole World Over and this one sounds just as good..maybe even better!

Les said...

I don't have any sisters (just three brothers), but I loved Three Junes, so this is definitely one I want to read. Great review!