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Identical by Ellen Hopkins
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Identical

by Ellen Hopkins

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I finished this book today and something has been bothering me about the story. Kayleigh is diagnosed with DID (aka MPD) and Raeann (her dead twin) is her other personality. Usually DID occurs when someone endures some sort of trauma... the original person can't handle whatever is happening to them, so in order for them to cope, they create this alternate personality to deal with the problem. In this case, Kayleigh was being sexually abused by her father. However, Raeann didn't pop into the picture to help her endure the abuse. Raeann didn't suffer the abuse for Kayleigh. No, Raeann was a bystander and watched it from a distance. She noted what was happening to Kayleigh, "witnessed it" but never stepped in Kayleigh's place to endure it for her. In fact, thinking back on the story, I can't think of any instance where Raeann stepped in for Kayleigh ever, to protect her. In fact, Raeann seemed to just be a destructive personality that witnessed what happened to Kayleigh and relays it to the reader, and gets into further trouble with drugs, alcohol, boys (sex & bondage), and is the purging half of Kayleigh's bingeing, except, not even 100% the binger, because I can recall one scene where Kayleigh binges, purges and then makes a huge mess in the bathroom and Raeann is basically viewing the mess and commenting on how Kayleigh needed to clean up after herself.

It seems to me that to be a true DID situation, Raeann would appear when Kayleigh is being abused, to take the abuse... and then disappear again. Raeann is supposed to be seen as the stronger personality, the gritty one, the one that can handle things better, the one who sleeps around and is building a reputation. Yet, in a way, Kayleigh is actually the stronger one, the one who actually lives through the abuse, suffers through it, endures it, while her personality watched. In the end when Raeann is proclaiming how she will be there to pick up the pieces and deal with whatever Kayleigh can't deal with etc. I was like, what exactly DID Raeann deal with? Nothing, as far as I can tell. She had her own demons, yes, but she really did nothing. She was a voice to tell the story, but as far as DID goes, it doesn't work for her particular role, in my opinion. ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
I finished this book today and something has been bothering me about the story. Kayleigh is diagnosed with DID (aka MPD) and Raeann (her dead twin) is her other personality. Usually DID occurs when someone endures some sort of trauma... the original person can't handle whatever is happening to them, so in order for them to cope, they create this alternate personality to deal with the problem. In this case, Kayleigh was being sexually abused by her father. However, Raeann didn't pop into the picture to help her endure the abuse. Raeann didn't suffer the abuse for Kayleigh. No, Raeann was a bystander and watched it from a distance. She noted what was happening to Kayleigh, "witnessed it" but never stepped in Kayleigh's place to endure it for her. In fact, thinking back on the story, I can't think of any instance where Raeann stepped in for Kayleigh ever, to protect her. In fact, Raeann seemed to just be a destructive personality that witnessed what happened to Kayleigh and relays it to the reader, and gets into further trouble with drugs, alcohol, boys (sex & bondage), and is the purging half of Kayleigh's bingeing, except, not even 100% the binger, because I can recall one scene where Kayleigh binges, purges and then makes a huge mess in the bathroom and Raeann is basically viewing the mess and commenting on how Kayleigh needed to clean up after herself.

It seems to me that to be a true DID situation, Raeann would appear when Kayleigh is being abused, to take the abuse... and then disappear again. Raeann is supposed to be seen as the stronger personality, the gritty one, the one that can handle things better, the one who sleeps around and is building a reputation. Yet, in a way, Kayleigh is actually the stronger one, the one who actually lives through the abuse, suffers through it, endures it, while her personality watched. In the end when Raeann is proclaiming how she will be there to pick up the pieces and deal with whatever Kayleigh can't deal with etc. I was like, what exactly DID Raeann deal with? Nothing, as far as I can tell. She had her own demons, yes, but she really did nothing. She was a voice to tell the story, but as far as DID goes, it doesn't work for her particular role, in my opinion. ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
I finished this book today and something has been bothering me about the story. Kayleigh is diagnosed with DID (aka MPD) and Raeann (her dead twin) is her other personality. Usually DID occurs when someone endures some sort of trauma... the original person can't handle whatever is happening to them, so in order for them to cope, they create this alternate personality to deal with the problem. In this case, Kayleigh was being sexually abused by her father. However, Raeann didn't pop into the picture to help her endure the abuse. Raeann didn't suffer the abuse for Kayleigh. No, Raeann was a bystander and watched it from a distance. She noted what was happening to Kayleigh, "witnessed it" but never stepped in Kayleigh's place to endure it for her. In fact, thinking back on the story, I can't think of any instance where Raeann stepped in for Kayleigh ever, to protect her. In fact, Raeann seemed to just be a destructive personality that witnessed what happened to Kayleigh and relays it to the reader, and gets into further trouble with drugs, alcohol, boys (sex & bondage), and is the purging half of Kayleigh's bingeing, except, not even 100% the binger, because I can recall one scene where Kayleigh binges, purges and then makes a huge mess in the bathroom and Raeann is basically viewing the mess and commenting on how Kayleigh needed to clean up after herself.

It seems to me that to be a true DID situation, Raeann would appear when Kayleigh is being abused, to take the abuse... and then disappear again. Raeann is supposed to be seen as the stronger personality, the gritty one, the one that can handle things better, the one who sleeps around and is building a reputation. Yet, in a way, Kayleigh is actually the stronger one, the one who actually lives through the abuse, suffers through it, endures it, while her personality watched. In the end when Raeann is proclaiming how she will be there to pick up the pieces and deal with whatever Kayleigh can't deal with etc. I was like, what exactly DID Raeann deal with? Nothing, as far as I can tell. She had her own demons, yes, but she really did nothing. She was a voice to tell the story, but as far as DID goes, it doesn't work for her particular role, in my opinion. ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
I finished this book today and something has been bothering me about the story. Kayleigh is diagnosed with DID (aka MPD) and Raeann (her dead twin) is her other personality. Usually DID occurs when someone endures some sort of trauma... the original person can't handle whatever is happening to them, so in order for them to cope, they create this alternate personality to deal with the problem. In this case, Kayleigh was being sexually abused by her father. However, Raeann didn't pop into the picture to help her endure the abuse. Raeann didn't suffer the abuse for Kayleigh. No, Raeann was a bystander and watched it from a distance. She noted what was happening to Kayleigh, "witnessed it" but never stepped in Kayleigh's place to endure it for her. In fact, thinking back on the story, I can't think of any instance where Raeann stepped in for Kayleigh ever, to protect her. In fact, Raeann seemed to just be a destructive personality that witnessed what happened to Kayleigh and relays it to the reader, and gets into further trouble with drugs, alcohol, boys (sex & bondage), and is the purging half of Kayleigh's bingeing, except, not even 100% the binger, because I can recall one scene where Kayleigh binges, purges and then makes a huge mess in the bathroom and Raeann is basically viewing the mess and commenting on how Kayleigh needed to clean up after herself.

It seems to me that to be a true DID situation, Raeann would appear when Kayleigh is being abused, to take the abuse... and then disappear again. Raeann is supposed to be seen as the stronger personality, the gritty one, the one that can handle things better, the one who sleeps around and is building a reputation. Yet, in a way, Kayleigh is actually the stronger one, the one who actually lives through the abuse, suffers through it, endures it, while her personality watched. In the end when Raeann is proclaiming how she will be there to pick up the pieces and deal with whatever Kayleigh can't deal with etc. I was like, what exactly DID Raeann deal with? Nothing, as far as I can tell. She had her own demons, yes, but she really did nothing. She was a voice to tell the story, but as far as DID goes, it doesn't work for her particular role, in my opinion. ( )
  recipe_addict | Sep 21, 2014 |
When a fatal accident sets off a string of dysfunctional scenarios in the Gardella household, identical twins Kaeleigh and Raeanne cope in their own destructive, abusive ways. Their father is a high-powered judge who has had an awful childhood that he blames on a absent mother and a father who works too much. The twins' mother is a congresswoman who has time for her constituents, but not her own flesh-and-blood.

Raeanne falls into sex, drugs, and promiscuity, while Kaeleigh cuts, binges and purges, and is victim of an incestuous sexual relationship. What has triggered these self-destructive acts are almost beyond comprehension, as we learn just how abusive, sick, and mentally ill the family is.

To say Identical is powerful reading is an understatement. As a reader, you are filled with rage, sorrow, confusion, and unadulterated bewilderment. A must-read? Yes. Will any member of this family be 'saved'?...or is the family too torn apart to be put back together? As with all of Hopkin's books, the story isn't pretty, but the writing is powerful and necessary. ( )
  jackiewark | Jul 9, 2014 |
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This book is dedicated to Dianne, Karen, and Tracy, dear friends and special women who rose to shine like stars above dark places in their lives.

With special thanks to Jude, who provided invaluable insight about the psychology of sexual abuse--its victims and victimizers.
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When I look into a mirror, it is her face I see.
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In the latest hard-hitting YA novel by the New York Timesbestselling author, 16-yearold identical twin girls must come to terms with their abusive father.

Kaeleigh and Raeanne are 16-year-old identical twins, the daughters of a district court judge father and politician mother running for Congress. Everything on the surface of their lives seems Norman Rockwell perfect, but underneath run deep and damaging secrets.

Kaeleigh is the good girl'"her father's perfect flower, something she has tried so hard to be since she was nine and he started sexually abusing her. She cuts herself and vomits after every binge, desperate to feel something normal. Raeanne uses painkillers, drugs, alcohol, and sex to numb the pain of not being Daddy's favorite. Both girls must figure out how to become whole, but how can they when their world has been torn to shreds?

Writing in her characteristic narrative poetry style, Ellen Hopkins shows once again how well she knows today's teens and the issues that matter to them.
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Sixteen-year-old identical twin daughters of a district court judge and a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, Kaeleigh and Raeanne Gardella desperately struggle with secrets that have already torn them and their family apart.

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