The Power of Confessions
Norrie, Jane, and Sassy Sullivan come from a rather unconventional family, with their eccentric, laid-back parents and their wealthy and formidable grandmother, whom everyone refers to as Almighty. All six Sullivan children know that it isn’t really their parents that they must answer to, but Almighty. So when she informs them on Christmas Day that someone has deeply offended her and she wants a confession, in writing, by New Years Eve, the Sullivan sisters—who have each displeased their grandmother recently—scramble to put their stories to paper in the hopes that Almighty won’t cut the entire family off.
Much like her previous novel, How to Say Goodbye in Robot, Natalie Standiford’s Confessions of the Sullivan Sisters is such a unique and quirky story whose quick humor and slightly unexpected depth will really appeal to readers. Broken up into three parts, the novel consists of a letter from each sister to Almighty, starting with Norrie, and covers the fall preceding Almighty’s demand. Though Jane seems to be the most likely offender due to her antics and sarcasm, Norrie’s story has the most heart, and the emotion in it will win readers over quickly. And though Sassy’s letter is the shortest, it rounds out the novel nicely and fills in the gaps that her sisters’ letters left.
Each letter is full of personality and humor, and Standiford has some great character development as each sister changes over the course of the fall. Even though there are some common events and coinciding dramas, the letters are all fresh and interesting as some events are more important to one sister than the others, and each girl sheds light on a certain aspect of their lives and family–Jane’s letter is especially entertaining as she chronicles the history of her family and lists her parents’ antics. Standiford is an expert upon building upon little details and mannerisms to create full and interesting characters, and her unique style makes it easy to fall in love with the Sullivan sisters. This is an excellent story about family, expectations, growing up, love, and of course, the power of confessions.
And also, I like this cover! It’s very neat and I think it conveys the attitude of the book very nicely!
Tirzah Price is a sophomore at Ferris State University and blogs regularly at thecompulsivereader.com. If not reading or writing, she is most likely lurking around Twitter @compelledtoread.