Thursday, May 27, 2010

My Favorite Reads: Identical Strangers

My Favorite Reads

Each week I am featuring one of my favorite reads from the past. May is Jewish-American Heritage Month, so all books I am featuring this month relate to Judaism

Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Elyse Schein and Paula Bernstein

Summary (from the publisher):

Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn’t until her mid-thirties while living in Paris that she searched for her biological mother. What she found instead was shocking: She had an identical twin sister. What’s more, after being separated as infants, she and her sister had been, for a time, part of a secret study on separated twins.

Paula Bernstein, a married writer and mother living in New York, also knew she was adopted, but had no inclination to find her birth mother. When she answered a call from her adoption agency one spring afternoon, Paula’s life suddenly divided into two starkly different periods: the time before and the time after she learned the truth.

As they reunite, taking their tentative first steps from strangers to sisters, Paula and Elyse are left with haunting questions surrounding their origins and their separation. And when they investigate their birth mother’s past, the sisters move closer toward solving the puzzle of their lives.

Why I chose this book:
The writing wasn't spectacular, but it was clear and straightforward, and these woman do have an unusual story and did a lot of research to flesh out the back story of their adoptions and why they were separated. Separated twins are always an interesting story, used in studies about inheritance and nature versus nurture. Seeing how they are similar and how they are different was pretty fascinating. Also it was interesting to see how, when they are reunited, they don't bond instantly as many of us assume would be true of twins, but it was a little awkward with moments of hurt feelings and misunderstandings.


Laurel-Rain Snow said...

This sounds like a fascinating story...I do love family mysteries. Secrets, etc.

Here's my favorite:


Alyce said...

I agree that the writing wasn't spectacular, but I loved this book! I read it right before I researched my mom's birth family and tracked down her siblings. At the time when I read it I never in my wildest dreams would have thought we would have success in finding my mom's relatives. I kept imagining her in the role of one of the sisters when I read the story. My mom didn't end up having a twin, but she did have a half-sister with the same first name. Kind of eerie.

Cath said...

OK, I have to get this book now. I don't care about the writing--the story sounds compelling enough to carry it on its own.

Great review!