Saturday, January 2, 2010

One and the Same

One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I Learned About Everyone's Struggle to be Singular
by Abigail Pogrebin

What is it about twins that fascinate? I used to wish I was a twin myself, imagining a perfect playing partner who would have more in common with me than a mere sibling. In this book, Abigail Pogrebin interviews many twins, from football stars Tiki and Ronde Barber to acquaintances of her own, as well as psychologists and doctors specializing in twin studies, presenting a broad spectrum of the relationships between adult twins and theories regarding raising twins and helping them become fully realized individual adults. Pogrebin investigates a wide range of topics related to twins, from the idealized relationship to the struggle for individuality to medical studies of identical twins with different medical issues (which I found a fascinating and informative regarding the nature/nurture discussion). What fascinated me the most - the world of being a twin - was also the most frustrating in reading. As a twin herself, the author refers to "the Twin Thing" and makes much of the special relationship that twins have. I've known many twins, either together or separately, but having not been a twin myself or having a set of twins in my immediately family, I felt rather thrown into the world of twins in the early part of the book, and it was only in the latter chapters that I felt I had gained my footing somewhat.

Throughout it all, Abigail's relationship with her identical twin sister, Robin, informs her understanding of these interviews, but at the same time seems to come to a better understanding of her relationship because of her investigation. She discusses their relationship often, including snippets of her interview with Robin, with their brother David, and with family friends. I was impressed with her ability to describe the loss she feels of the close relationship she once had with Robin without falling into the blame game or becoming a whiny victim. She paints a very honest family portrait without making out anyone as "the bad guy." A fascinating blend of reporting and interviews, psychology and personal experience.

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