NEW BOOK – About A Gift For My Sister
Ann Pearlman’s new novel, A Gift For My Sister, is a fast paced, riveting page turner that poses the larger questions of where did I come from, how did I become me, and how do we form a family. Set in a backdrop as vast as a continent, and diverse as plush beach condos, inner city Detroit, and exhilarating rap concerts, it’s a tale told by two fatherless daughters struggling with family curses, eccentric luck, and the complicated multiculturalism that is hallmark of our era.
Sky, obedient and cautious, has worked hard to build her dream life. In her ideal job as a lawyer and married to handsome Troy, they live with their three-year-old daughter, Rachel, in a house on the beach. Younger sister, Tara, rebellious and impetuous, has fallen in love with the irresistible Aaron, become pregnant in high school, and embarked on a rollercoaster life as a musician. But when tragedy besets Sky, her world is turned upside down. Amazingly, Tara and Aaron and their rap crew, instead of facing a future destined to be foolhardy and risky, are on the brink of fame. With this astonishing reversal of fortune, Tara offers to help Sky start over and move home. On the road trip tensions between the two sisters erupt, loyalties are tested and long hidden secrets revealed. The journey they embark on forces each woman to take a walk in the other’s shoes and examine what sisterhood, and family means to them.
“Pearlman’s poignant novel examines the complicated relationship between two sisters (first introduced in The Christmas Cookie Club) going through tumultuous times in their lives. Sky is still recovering from the sudden death of her best friend Mia when her husband Troy falls ill. He succumbs to a staph infection, leaving Sky and their daughter Rachel on their own, struggling to cope with the tragedies. The night before his death, Tara—Sky’s sister—promises Troy that she’ll take care of Sky. Tara has always felt like an outsider in her family, and uses those feelings of alienation to inform her passion: music. Although her band is on tour, Tara makes time for her sister, and together they embark on a journey from California to Michigan with Tara’s band mates never far behind. Pearlman’s narrative is executed smartly, with complex social issues (e.g., unemployment) woven in seamlessly. Her main characters are fully developed, and Tara is crafted particularly well. This is a story about love, loss, embracing second chances, and finding courage to move forward in spite of life’s most difficult moments.”
“Themes of belonging and fairness run through this complicated family story. Sky and Tara share the same mother but different fathers. Sky is cautious, dutiful, marrying the perfect man, practicing her dream career as a lawyer, and raising their daughter, Rachel. Music is all Tara cares about until Aaron, a black rapper with a juvenile record, comes along. Tara gets pregnant in high school and runs away with Aaron and his rap crew. About the time Tara and Aaron’s music takes off and they are on their way to stardom, Sky’s life crashes. Tara attempts to step in and help only to be met with anger and jealousy. The two sisters, along with an interesting collection of other characters, spend the time on the road, and between gigs, trying to understand what it’s like to be the other sister and just what love and family mean. This is a fast-paced novel, full of a varied cast of characters. There are no easy answers but lots of soul searching and heart- racing action.”
— BOOKLIST, Elizabeth Dickie
- #giftformysister by @AnnPearlman (alchemyofscrawl.wordpress.com)