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Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited | [Elyse Schein, Paula Bernstein]

Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited

This is the astonishing true story of Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein, who shared a personal history for more than three decades - and didn't know it. In her mid-30s, Schein finally decided to call an adoption agency to learn about her biological mother. Not expecting much, she instead got the surprise of her life. Her identical twin sister, Bernstein, lived just minutes away.
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Publisher's Summary

This is the astonishing true story of Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein, who shared a personal history for more than three decades - and didn't know it. In her mid-30s, Schein finally decided to call an adoption agency to learn about her biological mother. Not expecting much, she instead got the surprise of her life. Her identical twin sister, Bernstein, lived just minutes away.

©2007 Elyse Schein; ©2007 Paula Bernstein; (P)2007 Recorded Books LLC

What the Critics Say

"A transfixing memoir." (Publishers Weekly)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (99 )
5 star
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Overall
3.8 (16 )
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Story
3.6 (16 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Barry Arlington, TX, USA 04-01-08
    Barry Arlington, TX, USA 04-01-08
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Heartwarming story"

    I LOVE this book!
    This book is completely fascinating, with many surprises that will make you gasp out loud.
    I loved how the writing intertwined facts, statistics, stories of other twins, along with the story of how Paula & Elyse grew up & found each other "again".
    Like another reviewer, I also felt like I got to know Paula and Elyse and Googled them and so I finished the book to get any updates in their lives.
    Please give this book a listen, it is a truly wonderful story.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Joanne Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada 07-15-08
    Joanne Maple Ridge, British Columbia, Canada 07-15-08 Member Since 2006

    Tell us about yourself!

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "What if you are a twin and don't know it?"

    There were many things about this book I enjoyed. Narration was excellent - having two separate voices made it easier to distiguish who was who. I found this book inforatively factual when it came to the details of this adoption case. Being a fellow adoptee I really enjoyed the twins personal insight into their reunion thoughts and feelings.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deena Nashville, TN, United States 01-30-08
    Deena Nashville, TN, United States 01-30-08
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    "Very Enjoyable"

    What an interesting listen! I really enjoyed the subject, content and the way in which Elyse and Paula chose to craft their story. Ok, that's doesn't tell you much. How about this? These two women in their mid thirties find out that they have a sister, but not just a sister...in fact, one with whom they shared a womb for 9 months!After they locate and meet one another, they "join forces" to track down the circumstances around their separation. The story is told from each twin's perspective in alternating segments. You will learn about them, other separated twins (& triplets), the adoption process, and other very interesting biological and psychological facts. Believe me, this could have been a very boring subject...but it is NOT. I'm still thinking about them and have checked out their web site to see how they are because I feel as though I know them. The narrators are excellent..I thought perhaps the girls had read their own parts, but they had not. The narrators are very convincing though and it doesn't take long to know who is who by the voicing. If you're interested in twins and want a good story, listen to this.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 08-29-09
    Douglas Auburn, WA, United States 08-29-09 Member Since 2008

    College English professor who loves classic literature, psychology, neurology and hates pop trash like Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Wake up one day to find you have a twin?!"

    That's what these sisters did--they unravel the bizarre story of their separation and reunion in this compelling story.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LillyO Idaho Falls, ID USA 03-09-09
    LillyO Idaho Falls, ID USA 03-09-09 Member Since 2003

    LillyO

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "One story, two perspectives"

    I loved how this book flipped between the twins perspectives! Seeing how they each dealt with their "discovery" didn't merely discuss "nature v. nurture," it played it out, in action. At times it was so riveting it was painful for me, as I felt horrible for the judgement and scrutiny they gave each other (being both siblings and identicals). In the end, however, they saw their way through that...to the ultimate love, self-love. Wonderfully told, riveting, and thought-provoking.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mollie Baltimore, MD, United States 04-14-11
    Mollie Baltimore, MD, United States 04-14-11
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    "Interesting story; Irritating narrator"

    I thought the story was fascinating and well-written and would have given it more than 3 stars, but I found it so difficult to tolerate the narrator for Elyse that I almost didn't finish the book. She had a way of emphasizing words that made her sound on the verge of hysteria much of the time, and her frequent sniffing as she read was distracting and irritating. I will definitely avoid buying another book read by this narrator.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 08-09-14
    Simone St Laurent, Quebec, Canada 08-09-14 Member Since 2006

    Join me on GoodReads too!

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    Story
    "Twin Stories"

    The book centers around the personal recollections of Elyse and Paula, twins separated at birth who met and forged a bond in their 30s.

    Having not been a twin separated at birth (as far as I know! Ha!) I can’t imagine what kind of impact such a discovery would have on me – but I didn’t care much for the ladies. I found them so troubled and angst-ridden that it did not elicit any sympathy in me. I just wanted to shake them and tell them to stop whining, cut the drama, quit over-analysing everything and move on with your life!

    I was far more interested in the science of twins and by the various case studies on other separated and reunited twins. I think I would have preferred that kind of book instead, as opposed to a memoir format.

    Their investigation into the Louise Wise adoption agency and Peter Neubauer’s secret twin study did hold my interest however, and I am curious to know more about the study’s findings and conclusion.

    I hope I remember this book in 2066 at the ripe old age of 93 when the records of the study are unsealed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Karen United States 01-07-12
    Karen United States 01-07-12 Member Since 2011

    I've just gotten hooked on audio book this last year & I love them. Now I can "read" a book & do other things like walk or hobbies.

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    "Very intriguing book"
    Would you try another book from Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein and/or Alma Cuervo and Effie Johnson ?

    probably not


    Would you be willing to try another book from Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein ? Why or why not?

    I doubt they could write another story as interesting as this one.


    What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

    I liked having two narrators.


    Did Identical Strangers inspire you to do anything?

    no


    Any additional comments?

    I just really appreciated the honesty of these two girls.
    And I liked the way they told the story in a no nonsense sort of way.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gregg Advance, NC, United States 02-04-11
    Gregg Advance, NC, United States 02-04-11 Member Since 2004
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    "An astonishing book"

    An astonishing book with a compelling story that rewired my thinking about nature vs. nurture.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 02-14-08
    Casey Phoenix, AZ, USA 02-14-08 Member Since 2005
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    "Fascinating and Honest"

    If you look past the low production quality and the annoying narrator for Elyse, this is a fascinating journey about twins that meet later in life. The authors reveal a lot: research about twins, the unethical behavior of certain psychologists/researchers and, most importantly, their true feelings about their reunion. It's not all rosy -- believe it or not. I am not a twin, but this book gave me a glimpse into what it might be like.

    1 of 3 people found this review helpful
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