Tuesday, January 31, 2012

sisterhood everlasting

sisterhood everlasting
ann brashares
sisterhood of the traveling pants series #5
random house publishing
published 2011

It has been 10 years since the last Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants book.  Tibby, who now lives in Australia proposes a reunion of the sisterhood in Greece.  The other three women are giddy with excitement.  It has been 2 years since Tibby moved away unexpectedly and keeping in touch with someone on the other side of the world is harder than they thought.  Lena, Carmen and Bee make their way to Greece and to something the sisterhood has never experienced.

I was surprised at how much the characters had not changed.  If I didn't know that they were on their way to turning 30 I would have thought that this was just a year or two after the last book.  I think that made me angry with the book at first.  I wanted something to relate to.  It seemed like Carmen, Lena and Bridget were all stuck and miserable.  It wasn't even that they hadn't found what they were looking for, it was just that they were lost.  Or that they had maybe found it and decided they didn't want it.

But slowly the book began to evolve.  The story grew into itself and into my expectations and I fell into the book in a way that I wasn't expecting.  Of course, it was predictable, but isn't that because we feel we know the characters so well?  Maybe.

And now come the SPOILERS!!!!  I can't not write about this book.  I am dying to write about what this book has done to me.  So get out and read it and come back.  I'll wait.

OK, I lied.  I'm not waiting.






I knew that something terrible would happen to Tibby.  She just wasn't there.  She arranged the reunion and for the most part no one had really seen or heard from her in two years.  I thought perhaps she was assembling her friends together to tell them she was dying.  Cancer.  When she didn't show up at the airport I didn't understand.  When they found her body in the water I was lost.

But I wasn't sad.  I just didn't understand what had happened.  And then the women found the letter and their 'packages'.  She committed suicide???

I was angry.  How cruel of Tibby to bring them all to a place where they shared so many memories, to a place that should have seen some happiness, to die.  It was bizarre and incredibly mean.

So I wasn't sad.  And while I understood their grief I couldn't go there with Lena, Carmen or Bee, but it was Bee that I followed the most.  Throughout the series, Tibby was always my favorite.  Maybe because I felt like I saw myself in her.  After Tibby it was always Bridget.  How could you not love carefree, sunny Bee?  Carmen was crazy.  She was emotional and demanding and immature and Lena?  Well, Lena was just stuck.  Her timidness and indecision drove me nuts.

I rooted for Bee to find her path.  I admired her decision to leave.  To get on her bike and ride, trying to leave the pain and sadness behind her.  To satisfy the restlessness in her legs and in her heart.  To do something.  It is Bee who ultimately takes the bravest steps.  She tracks Brian down in Australia to demand answers, but when she finds him she finds Bailey.  Tibby had a daughter.

And the sadness inside my started to leak out, but the anger was still there.  How could she leave her daughter?  There had to be some other reason.

I think I finally lost it when Bridget discovers the home that Tibby found for her.  Out of all of them, Tibby knew each the best.  She wasn't afraid to tell them the truth.  She wanted them to be happy.  She didn't want to leave them.  She wanted them all to be together.  She wanted them to know her daughter.

The sadness has rolled in and settled in my chest and it is heavy.  For Tibby to have known she was going to have to leave not only her friends and family, but her baby devastated me.  Holding Olivia as she slept while I finished the last few chapters of the book I wanted to curl up in a ball and keep her locked within me.  I wanted to crawl into Emma's bed and hold both of my babies as tightly as I could and never let them go.  Maybe I will.


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