Sunday, July 27, 2008

A Book for My Sister by Pamela Winterbourne

Book Review by Zinta Aistars

Hardcover: 48 pages
Publisher: Laughing Elephant, 2003
Price: $19.95
ISBN-10: 188321145X
ISBN-13: 978-1883211455

It was on a summer weekend that my sister came to visit me that we soon realized this was an occasion to celebrate our sisterhood. Our lives had gone in two such very different directions that we sometimes struggled to find common interest or even common experience. We were more a case of opposites attract, in this case, sibling bond. For the bond between sisters is a real one, and strong, and enduring. Despite all.

By weekend's end, my sister surprised me with a gift: the breathtakingly beautiful book, "A Book for My Sister," by Pamela Winterbourne, published by Laughing Elephant Books. Here were the words, along with the visual representation, of our sibling ties. Part of a series (there are similar books for daughters, mothers, fathers, husbands, friends), it appears at first much like a picture book for children. The words are few, the pictures large and colorful. But then, why not? Some things are said best in few words, and we all know how many words a picture contains. A thousand and more ...

Pamela Winterbourne is a portrait photographer by trade, and it was during a photo session with her young daughter that she recalled herself at a young age, along with her sister. From this flash of memory came this book, a kind of letter to her sister about how important she was to her. The art images are selected by Wellerna Poltarnees, and they capture what perhaps the words only hint at, bringing to show such classic artists as Mary Cassatt, Frederick Bosley, Robert Reid, William Adolphe Bouguereau, John Singer Sargent, and a long and lustrous list of others.

"You know me, in some ways, better than I know myself," Winterbourne writes. "And we have both been enriched by our various interests and experiences... I feel safe in your esteem, which allows me to share my dreams and aspirations..."

And so I embraced warm and long - my sister. Who gave me this book so that I might remember not only a special weekend of renewing our bond across time and space and varied life experience, but also to remind me that in all the world, regardless of how diverting our paths, I will always find in her, my sister's heart, a safe and lasting oasis.

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