The Lapone Sisters
Archway Publishing (2022)
Reviewed by Paige Lovitt for Reader Views (11/2022)
“The Lapone Sisters,” is the story of three sisters who are coming of age in the mid-70s. Schmellda, or Shell, is the oldest. She starts out as a chubby teen who has issues with her body producing excess oil. As time passes, she recreates herself into a beautiful talented young woman. Her talent lies in creating unique floral pieces. The middle child, Sorina, is described as tall, beautiful, and willowy. She is hampered by a severe stutter. Discovering her voice helps her to overcome her speech impediment. Esmerelda, or Esme, is the baby in the family. She has no problem letting others know exactly what is on her mind. Her gift for being dramatic suits her well when she moves to Los Angeles with Eddy, who is the love of her life. Eddy has created a unique device that will assist women with certain hygiene needs. Each young person gets to share their stories, which take us from their teens into young adulthood. The supporting cast of characters are just as interesting.
The author Barry Wilker did an amazing job of creating a believable, and incredibly enjoyable, heartwarming story about a family whose mother and grandmother got their start in the United States after arriving here under very tragic circumstances. The book begins by explaining the maternal side of the family’s history. It was so poignant and realistic; I had to double check to see if I was actually reading a non-fiction story. The young protagonists also experience a negative situation that sets the stage for them to leave their childhood and move forward into becoming young adults. A supporting character is a part of that situation, and Wilker gives her an incredibly entertaining role in his tale.
Each character is so unique and has to overcome obstacles to help develop whatever their special talents might be. Every chapter is presented through a character’s eyes. This is a nice touch, because we get to experience things from their individual perspectives. I also enjoyed reading about life in the 70s. Despite living through it as a child, I still found it very relatable to my memories. I also enjoyed the settings in Tennessee and Los Angeles. Having been to both places, it was fun to revisit them through the eyes of the characters. “The Lapone Sisters,” is the perfect novel to curl up with and escape reality. It is such a treat! I would love to have been able to read it in one sitting. It is a perfect selection for a reader’s group. Wilker is a talented, creative writer, and I truly hopes he continues to present us with more of his work. I would really love to visit with these characters again, so I am hopeful that there will be a sequel someday!
One thought on ““The Lapone Sisters” by Barry Wilker”
I just realized that what I sent you in November ended up in my mysterious outbox. I was thanking you for such a nice, nice review for my first novel, The Lapone Sisters. I don’t hear from almost any in the business of writing, it is a business that I had and still have no idea how it works. Being retired from my main profession (after 43 years as an interior designer), I wanted to write a novel. Little did I know that I really needed to go to school and learn how to market a book and how to not be taken advantage of the self-publishing world. As I smile and look back, it means a lot to receive this review.