One and the Same, by Abigail Pogrebin (Book Review and Giveaway)
Posted Jan 12 2010 7:25am
With fraternal twin sons, I always thought I was fairly knowledgeable about "everything twins" -- that is, until I read the book, One and the Same: My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular. This book is a goldmine of information and insight into the twin experience, written by a woman who's an identical twin herself.
Author Abigail Pogrebin's journalistic background and impressive writing credentials serve her well in this book as she exhaustively examines the bond between twins through personal interviews, scientific studies, and her own experience as an identical twin. I was fascinated not only by Abigail's feelings toward her sister (and her sister's feelings toward her), but also by the stories of the other twins in this book. In most cases, identical twins have a deep connection that singletons will never experience.
In One and the Same, Pogrebin examines topics such as competition between twins, the public's fascination with multiples, the complications of a pregnancy with twins, twin studies, sexual orientation, the question for individualization and separation, being married to an identical twin, the death of a twin, and much more. As Pogrebin writes in the introduction, "Being an identical twin ... is intense." I found myself saying things like, "Wow, I never thought about that!" or "That would be really weird" over and over again as I read about what it's really like to live your life as part of a matched set. Many twins embrace it; others hate it. Many twins grow closer as they get older; others seek to break the bond that has almost strangled them all their lives. It's a very complex relationship that's difficult to understand, but made more clear in reading One and the Same. My twin sons' preschool teacher once told me that my boys are the most independent twins she's ever had in her classroom. My fraternal boys are basically brothers who just happened to share a womb and a birthdate. After reading One and the Same, I am convinced that their relationship would be different if they had been identical. The big question, of course, is whether this would be the case because they share the same DNA or because their life experiences would be different as identical people. It's probably some of both, but in reading about identical twins who were raised separately, and then found to have startling similarities as adults, the strong influence of genetics cannot be denied.
One and the Same is not just for twins or parents of twins. It's a study of everyone's individuality. It looks at what makes us who we are and what shapes our identity. It's a fascinating look at the world of twinship, as well as a compelling read about the search for one's "self."