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Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited Paperback – October 14, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Paula Bernstein is a freelance writer whose work has been published in The New York Times, New York, The Village Voice, and Redbook, among other publications. Formerly a reporter at Variety and The Hollywood Reporter, Bernstein has also been a regular contributor to CNN. A graduate of Wellesley College, she has a master’s degree in cinema studies from New York University. Bernstein lives in Brooklyn with her husband and two daughters.
From the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Elyse and Paula were adopted by separate families completely unaware that their daughters had an identical twin being raised by another family located in the same city. The girls reunite in 2003 when they are 35 years old. The book is their joint memoir about their difficult reunion and the resulting deep bond that slowly, and at times painfully, develops between them.
Their story is highly personal, heart-felt, and deeply emotional. Plus there are mysteries at the core that compel you to find out more. Who was their mother? Why did she abandon them? Who are their biological family? Where are they?
Halfway through their investigation, the twins discover a dark side to their particular adoption. With dogged journalistic skills they uncover every lead until they finally arrive at the truth. You'll be thoroughly surprised to learn the true reasons behind their unusual adoptions...and you can't help but be proud of their perseverance. These are two extremely bright and tough women.
Identical Strangers is excellent journalism made personal.Read more ›
However, somehow I found the book strangely dry and not as much as a page turner as the situation would make it seem it would be. I can't quite put my finger on the problem---I think it has a lot to do with the fact that so much of the book deals with the twin's feelings about each other and their uncertain feelings about having their lives changed by having a twin. This would certainly be an issue, but it's not really, for me anyway, that interesting to read about. There is also much about their body image issues, which are quite similar, but again, not really page turningly interesting.
The format of the book is a back and forth telling by Paula and Elise, the twins, in turn. We get information about a happening first from one and then from the other. I think the twins are more alike than they wish to think, as often it feels like reading the same thing twice! I think for parts of the book anyway a combined telling might work better.
I don't mean to not recommend the book. I certainly do---it's really an amazing story. Maybe a tiny bit more editing would have made it even better.
Fast forward to 2002. Elyse is at loose ends, living a bohemian life in Paris and hoping to become a film director. Although she has known for years that she was adopted, she suddenly decides to apply to the New York State Adoption Information Registry for information about her birth parents. Six months later, Elyse receives a letter from Louise Wise Services stating: "You were born at 12:51 p. m. as the `younger' of twin girls...to a 28-year-old Jewish single woman." This bombshell changes Elyse's life overnight. She has a million questions: Who is her twin, what does she do, and where does she live? When and why were the sisters separated? If Elyse were to contact her twin, would they get along? How could they possibly make up for lost time?
Meanwhile, Paula Bernstein is completely unaware that Elyse had embarked on a quest to find her. She is busy with her husband and two-year-old toddler, and has just begun settling in to her new apartment in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Elyse travels to New York and contacts Katherine Boros of Louise Wise Services, who quickly locates Paula and calls her to break the electrifying news. Shortly thereafter, the two women speak on the telephone for the first time. Finding out that they are twins is both an exhilarating and disconcerting experience. Although they look alike and have many things in common, Elyse is a single woman, footloose and fancy free, while Paula is a stay-at-home mom.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I learnt so much about inherited traits. I have reread a few times. I keep coming back to it.Published 15 days ago by Amazon Customer
Learning a lot of interesting things about twins, both factually and emotionally.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
Twins separated at birth find each other and what happened to them and the mother who had to give them up.Published 1 month ago by dmb2770
Wow! This book had me mesmerized! I finished it in six hours. I can't understand how those at the adoption agency could justify doing what they did (don't want to give anything... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Mama Mia
This book reveals the inhumanity of this particular adoption agency and no doubt many others. It was fascinating to watch the twins relationship develop. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Laurel Swarr
I thoroughly enjoyed the book and feel deep regret that they were ever separated. It was interesting to me how paula felt in the beginning about being found because her life was... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Sy Green
Excellent read, well written, interesting and informative. I learnt a lot and was able to search for more info on line on some of the characters and studies referred to in the... Read morePublished 7 months ago by Readphreak
I am the mother of fraternal girl twins and I loved this memoir! Laughed and cried
With their poignant story. Thank you!