Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Identical-Twins
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-08-31 04:17
In The Skin Of A Monster - Simply Brilliant
In the Skin of a Monster - Kathryn D. Barker

I first picked this book up because it was about a mass shooting. This is not a subject I know a lot about expect that it seems to happen quite a bit in America, so I find it an interesting topic, horrible but interesting. In the Skin of a Monster had an extra element - the shooter was one half of an identical twin, and her sister is still alive. Now that alone intrigued me, this poor girl, having to deal with all the emotions and fall out from the shooting, while looking like the shooter? I'm pretty sure it couldn't get worse.

Well what can I say, this book was nothing like I expected. For one it has a paranormal element which was totally left field. When the paranormal element made an appearance I admit to being rather disappointed, I thought there was enough interesting things going on already without the need to make something supernatural, plus I had my heart set on realistic fiction. Well let me say I'm so glad this was different! Barker did a superb job of creating the world, characters with a perfect blend of complicated emotions, horror and anticipation. I devoured this book, and couldn't make myself put it down once I got started! Watching Alice (MC) struggle to carry all the guilt and shame that should have never been her to begin with, her twisted belief she deserved all her sisters punishment, and seeing how everything unfolded was just incredible. These brave, responsible kids made this book, I loved every moment. If I could rate above 5 stars I would! I kind of wished it never ended.

IMO I can see how some people may be disappointed with this ending, personally I thought it was rather brilliant, if a little sad. Much more realistic than the usual cliched endings, even if for once I was cheering for things to be different.

Like Reblog Comment
review 2014-04-17 13:11
Nowhere near as funny as Monty Python
Classic Comedies (Signet classics) Lysistrata, The comedy of Errors, The Inspector General, The Misanthrope,Candida - Aristophanes,Plautus,Moliere,Gogol,Feydeau,Shaw,Henri Bergson,Barbara Freedman

This is basically a collection of plays that fall into the category of comedies and are bookended by an introduction and four essays on the nature of comedy as an art form. One reviewer on Goodreads has described this book has a collection is pretty ordinary plays bookended by two classics, though I personally feel that Charney's selection is not all that bad (and while I believe that there are better comedies than Shakespeare's Comedy of Errors, it does fit into the theme of the mistaken identity which a number of other plays – though to all of them – use).

The problem that I had with this book is that there is a saying (which I most likely made up) that goes along the line of: the best way to kill a joke is to write an essay – and that is what I feel that this book effectively does, or at least with the brief introductions to the plays. However, while comedy exists to be enjoyed and to bright up what, at times, can be a rather miserable life, there are certain types of comedy that are designed to be discussed and analysed (such as satire). However, the main type of comedy that this book explores is farce, a style of comedy that I really do not believe opens itself up to intellectual stimulation. It would be sort of like writing a PhD on this show:





In fact, after reading some of the essays (and comments) on the plays in this book, I now understand why, when this guy:





said to a couple of girls at the San Dimas shopping mall in this movie:




'I think you are suffering from a mild case of hysteria' the girls looked at him and called him a geek, and was then scolded by Billy the Kid and Socrates. It is a clear indication that comedy, in many of its forms, really cannot be analysed (and it is interesting that Charney includes an essay by Freud in this book).

However, there is one interesting essay at the back and that is the essay on the concept of the comic hero. I have never really considered the idea of the comic hero before, however I believe that he is a perfectly legitimate style of character. The comic hero extends the concept of the clown and the fool: a type of character who can pretty much get away with murder. We see this in King Lear where the fool is able to say things to the king that would result in the execution of many others. That is partly because nobody ever takes the clown seriously, and because they do not take the clown seriously, the clown has the ability to be brutally honest. The comic hero, however, is a step back from that, and they have suggested that a classic example of that type of hero is Charlie Chaplin (though I have not seen any of his movies, but since they are on You-Tube, I do plan of watching them at some stage). Another style would be Jackie Chan (who models himself after Charlie Chaplin) – that is the character that simply cannot die and has no fear, even though they may be hanging from a clock handle hundreds of stories above the ground. However, the other aspect of this type of character is that they have what can be considered fool's luck. Not only can they not die, they seem to not only be able to survive whatever life throws at them, but can do so with a smile on their face. In a way it makes me want to watch some Chaplin to see this in action.


Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/912683724
Like Reblog Comment
review 2013-07-20 00:00
Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited - Elyse Schein,Paula Bernstein 3 1/2 stars. Generally I liked this book. The title pretty much sums up what it's about: identical twins were separated at birth (or actually 5-6 months after birth) and found out about each other for the first time at 35. Although there is some discussion of nature vs nuture, what is and isn't genetically determined, and the impacts of environment and early trauma, it is really more about the two authors--how they found out about each other, how they reacted to the information, how their relationship developed, their own reflections surrounding their past and present situation. I guess I wish it had been more nonfiction-like. Their story is interesting but I would have been more interested to learn about separated twins and nature vs nurture in general. But it's a pretty minor gripe--the writing is engaging and fun to read and they do pose really intriguing questions about genetics and personality.

Overall, if this sounds like an interesting story or if you're interested in identical twins or twin studies, I would definitely recommend it.

There were some things I found problematic, which I am now going to talk about.

Fat phobia. In addition to hearing the twins compare their weight repeatedly (with "lighter" being deemed automatically "better") there are quite a few other instances as well. Here's one sentence that just made me cringe: "It will be easier for me to tell my family about my birth mother's mental illness, which is somehow less shameful than obesity to me" (p.179). Lady...neither obesity nor mental illness is something to be ashamed of... It rankles more because the mental illness is what ended up killing their mother (or at least contributing to her death). So it's worse to be considered unattractive than it is to basically be so chemically unbalanced and unhappy that you die as a result. What a world, eh?

Also they are continually trying to cast the doctor(s) who separated them and studied them as just super bad and ridiculously just BAD. There's one part where they quote someone saying that Dr. Bernard wasn't evil but came close. At another point they compare the twin study they were sort-of-but-not-really a part of with Josef Mengele's twin "studies." And they don't really have anything to go on besides "we're TWINS!! TWIIIINSSSS." Like that is magic or something. They never really convinced me that Dr. Bernard was doing something inherently wrong or unethical. Basically her premise was that raising twins places an extra burden on parents over raising a singleton, and being raised with a twin places certain unique burdens on the child. Disclosure: Peter is a (fraternal) twin. After talking to his mother about her experience raising them, it seems that, wow, guess what, it IS harder to raise two babies than one! Gosh darn. And talking to Peter about it, it seems that IS harder to differentiate an individual personality when you are constantly considered as part of a unit and compared to your twin. There are twins in this very book that confirm that. (Both Peter and the twins in the book also say that there are unique benefits from being a twin as well, just to be clear.) So it seems that Dr. Bernard's premise is not all that far-fetched, and if she is actually working from that assumption then what she did is completely different than what Mengele did. I mean SRSLY LADIES?? I get it that you are upset about being separated (or are you? you can't really seem to decide) but those comparisons and the whole "Dr. Bernard, Dr. Neubauer, so mean and wrong and dumb and wrong and MEAN!!!" just didn't resonate with me. It seemed over the top. You could definitely make the argument that it was harmful or unethical, or that at least would have been better if you had been kept together. But the thing is, they didn't present any evidence at all that it was harmful in general or had harmed them. In fact they both express contentment and relief (or something like it) at having been raised apart. So... um... yeah. All that "OMG EVIL DOCTORS SEPARATING TWINS" seemed somewhat out of place.

Also: "Dr. Bernard asserted [...] that there was no definitive scientific information about the heritability of schizophrenia. But articles in her file prove otherwise. One 1953 study among her papers found a significantly higher incidence of schizophrenia among the relatives of schizophrenics than in the general population" (p. 197). Er...One study? How big was the sample size? How were they selected? What other factors could contribute to the onset of schizophrenia? If the researchers were operating under the assumption that environment trumps genetics, noting that schizophrenia run in families doesn't necessarily discount environmental considerations. Maybe these families all share similar child rearing techniques that trigger schizophrenia. "One 1953 study" is hardly definitive scientific information--it could have been a study of three families that relied on self-reporting--the book doesn't say. So it hardly "proves" that she was perjuring herself or lying to further her evil baby-snatching-and-separating cause.

Anyway... I really did (mostly) enjoy it! ;)
Like Reblog Comment
review 2008-02-07 00:00
Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited - Elyse Schein,Paula Bernstein I'm not sure yet if I'm giving up on it or not - but for now I've put it to the side to read something a bit lighter. This book is very dry...I was hoping it would be really emotional and make my heart ache for what they went through...but I'm struggling with it. Sooo much facts, which are interesting and yet boring at the same time...and they seem to be repeating themselves a lot. I'm not quite halfway through and just don't know if it's going to be worth finishing...

Update: Alright, I finished it...and while it got better (not so much facts about twins and their inherited traits), it was still kinda boring.
More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?