A blazingly passionate memoir of identity and love: when a charismatic and troubled young woman dies tragically, her identical twin must struggle to survive
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 and then earn their way to a prestigious college and to careers as artists (a photographer and a writer, respectively) and to young marriages. But, haunted by childhood experiences with father figures and further damaged by being raped as a young adult, Cara veered off the path to robust work and life and in to depression, drugs and a shocking early death.
A few years 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; and this shocking statistic rang true to her. "Flip a coin," she thought," those were my chances of survival." First, Christa 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, ultimately triumphant struggle for survival is informative, heart-wrenching and unforgettably beautiful.
"It's not world or American history, but Christa Parravani brings her personal history unabashedly up to the plate in Her.
My pitch is this: if a twin dies, the surviving twin has a less than 50% chance of surviving the next three years. The threat isn't just from suicide, but accidents, cancer, and the like all plague surviving twins. Her is the story of Parravani's survival, by any definition. And recovery--if it even exists.
While telling the reader her story of survival, Parravani seamlessly unites her sister's story, their story, into one of the most powerful narratives I've read in a long time. Treading between their childhood to Cara's (Christa's twin) rape, through drug use and divorce, Her reinvents sisterhood into terms we can all understand. And with a story that sticks with you."
Listen to the NPR interview with the author HERE.