Friday, March 1, 2013

Book Review

by Christa Parravani

This one goes down as the best book I've read so far this year.  The writing is beautiful and incredibly tragic.  It was actually a little painful to read at times, but I couldn't stop because I was so hooked.

Back of the Book:

     Christa Parravani and her identical twin, Cara, were linked by a bond that went beyond siblinghood, beyond sisterhood, beyond friendship.  Raised up from poverty by a determined single mother, the gifted and beautiful twins were able to create a private haven of splendor and merriment between themselves, earn their way to a prestigious college and to careers as artists and find love in young marriages.  But, haunted by childhood experiences with father figures and further damaged by being raped as a young adult, Cara veered into depression, drugs and a shocking early death.
     When an identical twin dies the surviving twin's chances of dying within the next few years increase sharply.  Christa experienced this riptide of loss: First, she fought to stop her sister's downward spiral; suddenly, she was struggling to keep herself alive.
     Beautifully written, mesmerizingly rich and true, Christa Parravani's account of being left one half of a whole and of her desperate struggle for survival is informative, heart-wrenching, and unforgettably beautiful.

Christa tells the story of her sister's death and her own resulting breakdown interspersed with italicized passages of Cara's writing.  Even though Cara's words are marked differently, they weave so easily into Christa's that it was easy to forget who's voice I was currently reading in. 

I'm very close to my brother, Michael, who is four years younger than me.  My mom often jokes that we were supposed to be twins and my brother was just late.  So, a lot of Christa's struggles with drifting apart from Cara hit pretty close to home.  The idea of losing my brother is unimaginable; it would be like losing a part of myself.  So I can't even begin to understand what it must be like to lose someone who is literally one half of you.  Christa writes about all of our worst fears; only they really happened to her.

This book would be an excellent read for anyone that has experienced or is experiencing slowly losing someone to an addiction.  It's a reminder that none of us is alone, and that we can only help our loved ones when they are ready to help themselves. 

I typically judge how much I like a book by how likely I am to read it again.  I want to say that this is one I'd reread, but I would have to wait awhile before I do.  It's heartbreaking, but SO beautifully written.

Favorite Quote:

"So be it.  I love her, like I love no one else.  I am in love with Cara.  If I couldn't die with her, I could write my sister back to life."

Read more reviews on this book at LibraryThing.

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