Brashares, Ann. Sisterhood Everlasting. Random House Audio Publishing Group. 2011. Audiobook $40.00. ISBN 9780307912220.
Oh, Sisterhood Everlasting. I was hoping to love you! Alas, our love was not meant to be.
This conclusion to the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants series picks up a decade after the last book left off, and the four best friends are all grown up... but lost without each other.
My issues: The characters are really, really immature. Traits that were acceptable in teenagers, I found intolerable in adults. Lena is still painfully passive and afraid to act in any capacity; Bridget is still a screw-up who does whatever she wants without thinking of others. Carmen- always my favorite character- is the only one who seems to have her life together, but she’s clearly got her priorities in the wrong order-- she’s putting her career first (tsk!) and has apparently lost her ability to think deep thoughts because she’s constantly glued to an iPhone.
Hey. I like my iPhone.
Also, the plot is kind of a downer, and while I’m okay with the fact that not everything in life is all sparkles and unicorns, I found the pacing through the sad parts of this book to be, well, somewhat excruciating.
To be fair to Brashares, a good deal of my irritation with this book may stem from the audiobook narrator. Angela Goethals has a truly lovely voice. She sounds youthful enough to believably portray all the characters, and does a commendable job creating distinct voices for each character-- which is a difficult task, as the main characters are all 29 year old females. But! My main problem with her reading is that it's very slowly paced and overly deliberate. Her delivery plays up the angsty melodrama… or maybe her melodramatic tone is caused by the inherent melodrama in the text. Either way, I found myself shouting at the audiobook frequently. Things like: “THIS AGAIN?” and “REALLY? YOU WENT THERE?” and “LENA, I WILL SMACK YOU.”
Which, on the bright side, means that at least the book elicited a strong reaction from me, right?
So, while I can’t say I exactly enjoyed the experience of this novel, I will say that I couldn’t put it aside. I absolutely had to keep listening; I had to find out how everything would end up for these characters I had so loved from the first four volumes of the series. Most fans of the Traveling Pants books will likely feel the same way, whether they end up loving this book or not-- for better or worse, it's a compelling read if you loved the first four.