18
Mar
08

two stories of sisterhood

Last week while on vacation, I read two books The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory and After Long Silence by Helen Fremont. These books are both very different. They take place in different centuries and they detail different tragedies, but they do have one common theme. They are each narrated by a sister and they each explore the relationship between sisters.

The Other Boleyn Girl is about the friendship, loyalty and betrayal between two sisters. “We’re sisters. And therefore born rivals.” It portrays sisterhood as a constant struggle of love, devotion and competition.

After Long Silence tells a different story of sisterhood.  A story that explores two sisters who thought they were very different growing up and who come to realize they have more in common than they thought. They discover they need each other.  “Lara and I were opposites in every way until we grew up, left home, and discovered that we were more alike than we’d thought. Sisters only get to be opposites within the family, separated by the world, they become practically identical.” I love this quote and I agree with it completely. Encompassed by the unique setting of family life – each child has to differentiate themselves.

I have a younger sister. In my experience, sisterhood hasn’t been a competition, nor have we ever doubted our need for each other. I have been lucky. Our relationship has morphed throughout the years, but it has always provided companionship, love and support. Yes, there have been hard times. I think much of my experience stems from my role as the eldest. Naturally, I’ve always been compelled to protect and guide her. I haven’t always understood her decisions, and I’m sure there have been times where she’s resented me for constantly butting in. Now that we are both adults, I have to be confident that she will make the right decisions for herself. And celebrate with her when they work out. And console her when they don’t.

Everyone’s version of sisterhood varies. I’m sure my sister’s story is different from mine. But I will say that my version doesn’t follow The Other Boleyn Girl or After Long Silence. It’s my own story – maybe someday I’ll have a chance to tell it.

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1 Response to “two stories of sisterhood”


  1. 1 Stacy
    March 19, 2008 at 8:25 am

    Oooh, your description of After Long Silence really makes me look forward to reading it. It sounds like my relationship with my sister. Growing up we were pretty much two people that were forced to live in the same house. Personally, I think it is because I was cuter and a better athlete and she was always jealous, but I’m sure it was also because I had way too much energy and always had to be the center of attention. Anyway, now we are good friends and I am very thankful for the relationship I have with her. Am I Lara or the narrator, do you think?


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