Raised up from poverty by a determined single mother, gifted and beautiful twin sisters Christa and Cara Parravani were able to create a private haven of splendor and amusement that they shared between themselves. They earned their way into a prestigious college, established careers as artists (a photographer and a writer, respectively), and entered young marriages. But plagued by their father's early rejection of them and further damaged by being raped as a young woman, Cara veered into depression, drugs, and a shocking early death.
Some time after Cara was gone, Christa read that when an identical twin dies, regardless of the cause, 50 percent of the time the surviving twin dies within two years. By then, that shocking statistic rang all too true. "Flip a coin," she had come to think. "Those are my chances of survival." While at first Christa had fought to stop Cara's downward spiral, after her sister's death she suddenly found herself struggling to survive her own.
©2013 Christa Parravani (P)2013 HighBridge Company
"Parravani delicately probes the fragile, intimate boundaries among love, identity, and loss." (Kirkus Reviews)
"The best memoirs should come with a warning label, the kind that makes you take a deep breath before you open the cover. Her announces its challenges immediately while also establishing the voice that will pull you through the darkness of loss, memory, and expiation. Suddenly bereft, twinless, distrusting the talent that has been her mainstay...Christa Parravani carries us with her into the excavation of what it means to be a survivor, a lost twin and a woman digging herself out of her sister's loss. That she comes out the other side is never predictable - merely miraculous." (Dorothy Allison, author of Bastard Out of Carolina)
"Christa Parravani writes with extraordinary emotional honesty.... The scenes between the sisters in this book are breathtaking. And Christa's difficulty looking in the mirror after the death of her identical twin becomes the reader's desire to see him- or herself, and the world, more sensitively. A fine and rare book." (Alice Elliott Dark, author of In the Gloaming and Think of England)
I am a huge memoir fan and have listened to a bunch. While I found the story interesting I was distracted by the monotone reading. There was no character or inflection to give life to the words and I wish I would have just bought the book and read it.
I like memoirs, especially when someone has experienced a personal tragedy but the story seemed bland and made so much more flat by the monotonous narration. I've tried & tried to get into this book, but just can't do it. I finally deleted it today. I was terribly disappointed - I really waned to like it.
The delivery lacked flow and read like a term paper. Despite it, I remained engaged, although mentally attempting to establish whether the author was narrating past or present tense. From childhood to adulthood, the relationship between these sisters is disturbing, So much so, that you find yourself thinking,.. "These girls are both mentally ill,and need help. Someone do something!!" Why their behaviors were not red flags to those around them, escapes me. The freaky photos should have been enough to question stability. Perhaps early psychological intervention into the bizarre and unhealthy bond between these twins, could have avoided calamity. I'm puzzled by the sister's ability to fund their trips and vices, under their joint "under" and sometimes un-employment. Makes me question the reality of it all..
Even though I do not have a twin or a sister, I could feel the character's emotion as if it were my own.
At first I was concerned the author was also the narrator - audiobook narration is hard to do well. But, I feel I got more out of the book by listening to Ms. Parravani do the narration herself (vs. reading the book) - otherwise, I now believe it would have felt inauthentic had anyone else narrated it. Very moving and honest.
I'm Trying to see the world with my ears.
You might need a back-up heart to endure certain pages, relationship between twins and how one twin survived without the other.
Unforgettable and emotional, this is a story recommended for all who are interested in people who survive tragedies and what their experiences can teach us. Not for the faint of heart, however; one cannot leave the story behind without suffering some page. 5 stars
Engaging, honest, poetic
The story was told in a literary/poetic way that you don't often see in memoirs, but it's not too flowery. It's a perfect mix, and the word choices convey more meaning that what is actually said.
Yes, I definitely wanted to listen to it in one sitting. Some of it was difficult to get through, such as the part where she describes her sister's death in detail. I paused and walked away for a bit, but the vividness of the description needed to be there, because the rest of the story is told in a vivid and raw way. So, the rawness is both compelling and at times difficult.
I like memoirs, and I'm usually attracted to somewhat dysfunctional storylines (like "The Glass Castle," "Beautiful Boy," "Wild," etc.) but this one made me realize what made those other books special: the writing. Apparently I'm not just interested in a trainwreck of a story - it needs to be well constructed and skillfully told. I'm not saying this author doesn't have talent - perhaps she does - but it felt like she was still too closely tied to the events in her story to approach them as a writer rather than simply a grieving sister.
Potentially. She may be a good writer, but she needs to write about something less freshly personal - or employ a better editor to keep it on the rails.
melodramatic, unsympathetic, personal
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