From Publishers Weekly
This harrowing but arresting memoir—written in alternating voices by identical twins, now in their 50s—reveals how devastating schizophrenia is to both the victim and those who love her. The condition, which afflicts Pamela (an award-winning poet), can be controlled with drugs and psychiatry, but never cured. When the twins were young, Pamela always outshone Carolyn. But in junior high, Pamela was beset by fears and began a lifelong pattern of cutting and burning herself. After the two entered Brown University, Pamela's decline into paranoia accelerated until she attempted suicide. During the ensuing years of Pamela's frequent breakdowns and hospitalizations, Carolyn became a psychiatrist, married and had two children. Empathetic and concerned, Carolyn nonetheless conveys her overwhelming frustration. and occasional alienation from her sister, when she is unable to help. Pamela's schizophrenia caused their father to sever his relationship with her. Remarkably descriptive, Pamela's account details how it feels to hear voices and to suspect evil in everyone. Though she struggles with her medications, Pamela remains a committed poet and is now reconciled with her father and close to her twin. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
For many, the idea of being one of identical twins--and possibly the possessor of telepathic communicative powers--sends chills up the spine. Add certifiable schizophrenia to the potent emotional state of identical twinship, and the potential for nightmare magnifies. In their disturbingly powerful memoir, however, the Spiro sisters reveal all this as the stuff of their everyday reality. Explosive encounters with one another, other family members, friends, and medical professionals are recounted with jarring straightforwardness. Alternating recollections about being half of a pair of youngsters growing up in the 1960s highlight the sisters' individual personalities while they relate sisterly connections, competitiveness, and co-option. When Pamela's illness emerged at the beginning of adolescence and subsequently spiraled out of her control, it became a virtual separate entity that taxed the limits of the sisters' relationship and continues to test their endurance. This memoir probably afforded its authors great therapeutic value, but readers struggling with schizophrenic family members may find it too graphic. Donna ChavezCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved