Sisters by Elizabeth Fishel (1979, Hardcover)

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Love and Rivalry Inside the Family and Beyond
by Elizabeth Fishel
Publisher: William Morrow and Company, Inc.
Copyright 1979
Book Club Edition

"From birth to death, sisters model and pattern their scripts on each other's.  They take cues from each other about the way life is or might be, about how to walk, talk, think, dress, about what to fear and what to embrace, about whom to like, whom to scorn, about when to move and how far, what to reach for and why."

So writes Elizabeth Fishel in Sisters, a book about the ways a woman's life is shaped and influenced by having a sister, from the moment she is born through old age and death.  It explores the depth and breadth of sisters' relationship throughout the life-cycle, through closeness, distance, ambivalence, through rivalry and love, inside the family and beyond.

Beginning with her own relationship with her five-year-old sister, Anne, Elizabeth Fishel studies sisters' relationships from youth to age, using questionnaires and also probing and intense and astoundingly revelatory interviews.  Among the well-known sisters she talked to were Carly Simon, Gloria Steinem, Ntozake Shange, Kate Millett, and Margaret Mead (who said, "Sisters is probably the most competitive relationship within the family," and whose sister Elizabeth Mead Steig said, "You can't give up a sister.  You were born with them and you die with them.  Or they die and leave you, and you feel absolutely discomfited").

Among the many issues discussed in the questionnaires and interviews and examined in the book are:  the messages of birth order and the dynamics of the family crucible; patterns of roles, of rivalry, and of polarities; the special, private language sisters have with each other, usually secret from and indecipherable to their parents; sisters' influence on each other's creativity and their especially magnetic influence on each other's emerging sexuality, each other's identities as women.

Sisters is a deeply researched, intelligently written, and profoundly felt book.  It is about sisters, but it encompasses any life that is shared with another.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover.  Pages may be tanning and discolored from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the front endpaper.  Dust cover and dust cover flaps are tanning from age and show a bit of edge wear.


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    • ISBN 0688034381
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