My head was swirling in confusion... there were so many characters introduced all at once I couldn’t keep track!
The storyline bounced from one person to another with very little background on anyone. Wanted to like the book, but just ended up with a headache.
The characters were very hateful. I don’t like how it ended at all.
To distill The Favorite Sister into one category is to vastly reduce what Jessica Knoll does in telling this story.
For one thing, Knoll shakes her fists at societal norms that dictate strictures and limits to women. Told through three perspectives--Brett, the youngest cast member of a Real Housewives-esque reality show devoted to women who achieved success without any influence from men, her older sister Kelly, and Stephanie, a bestselling author who also is black--you see the different ways our genders affect us, whether through age, single parenthood, marriage, race, and professional success. Knoll doesn't ask "at what cost," rather, she wants to know "why must a woman's cost be any different than a man's"?
In a lesser writer's hands, such heavy sociological discussions might feel hamfisted or pedantic. Knoll proselytizes, yes, but in a way that makes you think as opposed to rolling your eyes. Why are the same behaviors accepted in men abhorred in women?
Her three narrators each offer a different perspective, and it is critical that we get to know these women. You will find your loyalty vacillating from one to the other, and as various truths are divulged, you might find yourself despising all three. No one in this book is honest, even when they're lying. Each feels the need to resort to falsehoods in order to achieve her goals. Do men do that? Of course they do, but too often we excuse it in them because that's part of a man doing what he must. We judge women far, far harsher.
The problems come in the last quarter of the book. You have to suspend logic a time or two, and you might find yourself asking, "What about ..." regarding a couple of dropped plot points. If you go into this book expecting a big fat suspense-thriller, you're reading the wrong book. There is a mystery, but it really doesn't come into play until well past the halfway point. Up until then, Jessica Knoll spends time introducing you to her characters and inviting you to trust at your own peril.
Pay attention to the title. Jessica Knoll plays with that throughout the book, and, in the end, you might find yourself asking which sister really is the favorite? Or is it possible that no one is and no one deserves to be.