Sunday, July 19, 2009

Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited

I joined a book club back in March that has picked some interesting reads:A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini, The Glass Castle: A Memoir by Jeannette Walls, and now the third book I'm reading with them, Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein. I must say, this club's got a pretty awesome track record thus far.

I don't think I would have ever found this book, if not for my book club. I don't read a ton of everyday people memoirs. The few memoirs I read are usually celebrities (I know, so trashy) or historical figures. But, now that I'm thinking about it, I have really enjoyed the everyday people memoirs that I've read...maybe I ought to read more.

The premise of this book is like something out of a soap opera, in a way - identical twins separated at birth and adopted into different households, without neither of their adoptive families being aware of their twinness. It sounds like something that could only happen on a ridiculous soap opera, doesn't it? Except it happened to Elyse and Paula as infants.

This memoir is the story not only of how Elyse and Paula found each other, but also about why they were separated, which was quite fascinating. I don't want to spoil that for anyone, so I won't reveal anything more there. They also search for their birth mother, which also leads them to some interesting information. (Is this the most vague book review I've written thus far?)

There's a good bit of science interwoven into the narratives that Elyse and Paula write. They learned quite a lot about twins in their research as to why they were separated and in meeting other twins that were reared apart, which was very interesting to me. I knew several sets of identical twins growing up and was always intrigued by the way they could communicate with one another and how much they had in common. Elyse and Paula, though reared apart, had some eeriely similar experiences in their life and had many, many things in common, in addition to their appearance.

All in all, I'm looking forward to my book club discussion on this book in a few weeks. This was a wonderful book, and it's the kind of book I will probably read again at some point.

Now it's time to read something lighter...perhaps something Southern...I think I will pick up Rhett Butler's People at long last. I bought it practically a year ago and haven't touched it. I absolutely loved Gone with the Wind and even Scarlett was sort of okay. I'm fully prepared to hate it, since I've heard that it's just awful, but I want to at least give it a try. Stay tuned! And don't forget to tell me all about what you're reading!


Anonymous said...

Love love love The Glass Castle!


ModernMom said...

Sounds truly interesting! I'm glad you did a "vague" book review. Wouldn't want to spoil it!

Becky @ Our Sweet Peas said...

First of all thanks for stopping by my blog.

Secondly, I just finished "Sarah's Key" which was an amazing book although quite dark as it deals with the holocaust. I just started "The Friday Night Knitting Club". It hasn't hooked me yet but we will see.

I was considering "The Glass Castle" so maybe I will add that to my list. Happy reading to you!

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