4 out of 4 stars
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“The capacity of a woman’s heart for her friends is vast, so vast it is hard to comprehend sometimes.” Rose admits in the novel. Rose is among a group of other four ladies: Sophie, Veronica, Amanda and Melody who are addicted to fly fishing in The Reel Sisters by Michelle Cummings. The Reel Sisters examines the detailed adult lives of these five women. One feels and hopes to meet any of these ladies in the real world. Their fears and hopes are narrated in the first person by each of them. Through their laughter, stories, jokes, insults, and most importantly fly fishing, we are taken on a journey of each woman’s self- discovery and re-discovery.
The gradual growth of Melody from a solitary photographer to a social fly fisher is heartening. I found it inspiring to track how she develops life skills and ability to make hard decisions in life. Although I liked other aspects of the novel so much, this is what I liked most in this roller coaster. I found it impossible to put the book down, as I tracked Melody to the woods.
Amanda’s death came as a shocker to me. I least expected it. How could Michelle Cummings do such an injustice to her? I had to momentarily stop reading, to mourn her death. I am rarely affected by negative twists in a novel. This turn of events disoriented my smooth reading. And I must say that this is the part of the novel that I disliked most.
Although it is a nonfiction book, it contains numerous factual references to fly fishing as a sporting activity. Each of the ten sections of the story has a quote preceding it. The quote gives an important tip about this activity which was originally masculine in nature. I found it easy to follow each woman due to the superb structure of the novel. There is also a section on book club discussion questions which I found helpful in challenging my memory about different scenes, places and characters in the novel. Most team building professionals prefer writing non-fiction books, but Michelle Cummings, despite being one, digressed from this notion. Instead, she chose to write a novel. To compliment her message, the novel also has a section of reference bureau to any reader who may be interested in trying fly fishing after reading the novel. Personally, I feel hooked up to fly fishing after reading the novel. The novel has a page on end notes, a characteristic of most non-fiction books.
Apart from one typo error which I came across, writing ‘sorry’ instead of ‘story’, the novel was professionally written, edited and illustrated. I therefore rate it 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend it to men who wish to get a deeper understanding of women’s social lives. People who are still held hostage by a painful dark past will find it a good read especially in helping them heal too. Lastly but not least, I recommend it to people who are looking for team building tips.
The Reel Sisters
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