her: a memoir. Parravani, Christa. New York: Henry Holt & Co., 2013
Christa and Cara are identical twins who embody the myth of closeness – two people, one soul. Their bond is not only forged from biology and the womb but strengthened by overcoming a difficult childhood and all adversities that come with poverty and abuse.
But, what happens when one twin starts to spiral out of control? Does the other twin remain independently strong or does she get dragged down with her mirror image sibling? When Cara survives a brutal rape the violence never leaves her mind and she embarks on a journey full of drugs and self destruction. The more Cara sinks into depression and recklessness the more Christa struggles to stay above her sister’s chaos. Christa struggles with finding the delicate balance between loving her sister and wanting to save herself. This becomes especially dangerous when she is desperate to save her sister at the risk of losing herself. Finally, when faced with failure Christa has the seemingly insurmountable task of extracting her life from that of her sister’s. To look into her coffin was to see herself. Part Two of her is Christa’s journey to find herself; to crawl out from under the mountain of grief; to be her own singular person.
Postscript ~ Being very familiar with the area where Cara was raped I refrained from looking at Christa’s photography until I was finished with the book. I have to be honest, the photographs are so striking I kept returning to them. They add an air of quiet melancholy and bring Cara and Christa’s “twinness” into sharper focus. I would say to add more of these photographs to the memoir would make the story even more haunting (if that was even possible). Having said that, this is not a plea to do so, but rather a warning not to…if that makes any sense.
Also, this is the examination of sisterhood that I have always wondered about. I am not a twin but I frequently find myself comparing my current who, what, when, where & how with that of my sister. We had the same upbringing, the same education, the same locale we call hometown and yet our lives are miles apart. We bear no resemblance to the past we once shared. We are completely different in practically very aspect of our lives. I can’t imagine the relationship as a twin.