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Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins…

Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited

by Elyse Schein, Paula Bernstein

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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» See also 38 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 48 (next | show all)
Must admit I thought this book was quite boring . Probably also had to do with the fact that I did not like the 2 sisters very much plus that I was not really in the mood so maybe it was just me and not the book. ( )
  Marlene-NL | Mar 12, 2016 |
I enjoyed this book true story about identical twins who are separated when they are babies and are reunited as adults. They explore the complicated emotions they experienced as they met and got to know one another, sometimes with brutal honesty. This book gets you thinking about nature vs. nurture, and the authors intersperse their story with discussions of what psychologists have learned about twins. I also got a kick out of the fact that a good deal of the story takes place in Brooklyn's Park Slope neighborhood, where I spent a weekend in October 2009 during a cousin's wedding weekend. ( )
  JillKB | Apr 4, 2013 |
The book is about the emotions and adjustments made by a pair of identical twins adopted separately when they are reunited. Ultimately, we learn that nature is responsible for the strangest things - gestures and field of career among them - but that identical twins are completely different in personality and that they themselves seek to find similarities even when they deny it.

I was good friends with an identical twin at one time. I didn't know she was a twin and it did cause some friction when the girl I went to lunch with Monday to Friday would do no more than nod her head to me at the weekend. My friend had pinched her twin's boyfriend, had a baby and married him. They separated within months and he went to back to live with the twin who was his original girlfriend. The twin got pregnant and both girls gave birth within three months of each other. The father went back to his wife. The twins saw each other only when they were dropping off or picking up their children from their mother who babysat them during working hours but were otherwise scarcely on speaking terms (as you might imagine).

Having the same father, the twins are half-sisters, having sisters for mothers, they are first cousins, but since the mothers DNA was 100% alike they are also, genetically, full sisters. The irony is that the little girls look almost exactly alike and one wonders if they are doomed to repeat their mothers' awful rivalry.

The twins in the book, who are both Goodreads authors, think they are more alike than they actually are. As with two artists fulfilling the same commission with the same clay, the resulting statue will show the different vision of each. We are too complex for it to be otherwise. ( )
  Petra.Xs | Apr 2, 2013 |
My blog post about this book is at this link. ( )
  SuziQoregon | Mar 31, 2013 |
Twins Paula and Elyse are given up at birth by their 28-year-old single mother, and psychologists connected with the adoption agency decide they will be part of a twin study. Basically, it is a scientific study of nature v. nurture. Twins and even triplets will be separated soon after birth and grow up in different familes and will be observed yearly for similarities and differences. While the girls are still babies living in their foster home, they cease to develop at the same rate and are dropped from the study. The girls are stil adopted out to separate familes and do not discover that they have a twin until they are 35 years old. The book is the story of how Elyse and Paula forge a relationship and how difficult that is and then their investigation of how they came to be separated, and all of that interspersed with interesting facts about twins and the twin study. The middle portion was a little dry, but I hung in there wanting to find out what happened with these two women and what they discovered about their origins. ( )
  CatieN | Oct 26, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Elyse Scheinprimary authorall editionscalculated
Bernstein, Paulamain authorall editionsconfirmed
Cuervo, AlmaNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnson, EffieNarratormain authorsome editionsconfirmed
Snoijink, BobTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0812975650, Paperback)

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.

Praise for Identical Strangers:

Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award

“Remarkable . . . powerful . . . [an] extraordinary experience . . . The reader is left to marvel at the reworking of individual identities required by one discovery and then another.”
–Boston Sunday Globe

“[A] poignant memoir of twin sisters who were split up as infants, became part of a secret scientific study, then found each other as adults.”
–Reader’s Digest (Editors’ Choice)

“[A] fascinating memoir . . . Weaving studies about twin science into their personal reflections . . . Schein and Bernstein provide an intelligent exploration of how identity intersects with bloodlines. A must-read for anyone interested in what it means to be a family.”

“Identical Strangers has all the heart-stopping drama you’d expect. But it has so much more–the authors’ emotional honesty and clear-eyed insights turn this unique story into a universal one. As you accompany the twins on their search for the truth of their birth, you witness another kind of birth–the germination and flowering of sisterly love.”
–Deborah Tannen, author of You’re Wearing That?

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:23:10 -0400)

Elyse had always known she was adopted, but it wasn't until her mid-thirties that she searched for her biological mother. She was not prepared for the life-changing news: she had an identical twin sister. Not only that: she and her sister, for a time, had been part of a secret study on separated twins. Paula also knew she was adopted, but had no inclination to find her birth mother. When she answered the phone one spring afternoon, her life suddenly changed. As they take their tentative first steps from strangers to sisters, Paula and Elyse are also left with haunting questions. As they investigate their birth mother's past, they begin to solve the puzzle of their lives. Interweaving eye-opening studies and statistics on twin science into their narrative, they offer an intelligent and heartfelt glimpse into human nature.--From publisher description.… (more)

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