"There's no point in spending your life in the pursuit of something that's easy." - Alice Kuipers

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


I think I've said enough about Christmas now to last until next year, so today I've decided to delight you with an entirely new topic. And no, I won't just be complaining, despite that being one of my favourite activities.
Today, I want to talk about twins. For those of you who don't know, I am one. I'm an identical twin, meaning my sister and I were once a single egg that split. It also means we look a lot alike, which can be both hilarious and frustrating; but that's another topic.
I don't often have much to say on the subject, most of my time spent talking about being a twin is in refuting old wives tales. No, we can't read each other's minds. No, when one of us eats the other doesn't get full. But the reason I've been thinking a lot about my 'twin-ness', is because I'm reading Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger. The novel centers around a pair of mirror twins named Valentina and Julia, who inherit their aunt's flat in London. Mirror twins are identical twins who are an exact mirror image of the other. So, for example, a mole that would be on the right cheek of one, will be on the left of the other.
Anyway, the book is great. I'm just over half way through and I can barely stand to put it down. Even now, I can't help but look down at it hungrily, anxious to devour the rest of it. One of the reasons it's so interesting is due to the relationship between the twins. One wants to have her independence from the other, and the other wants them to remain together and exactly the same forever. She insists that they dress in matching outfits and believes that they must have the same job, something they can do together.
Honestly, as a twin myself, it's positively terrifying. I can't imagine what life would have been like if either of us had been that way. I'm lucky my sister and I managed to remain so close without trying to re-envelope each other and become one person again. I can't wait to find out if the twins are able to find their individuality, not to mention uncover the various mysterious secrets hinted at in the book.
It's always interesting to read about characters that are twins, especially by authors who aren't twins themselves. I think there's a bit of mysteriousness to it, a longing to understand what that kind of closeness is like. Sarah Pekkanen also wrote about twins in her first novel, The Opposite of Me, another fabulous book. However, in Her Fearful Symmetry, although it's a great book and I'm loving every minute of it, I do find her depiction of these particular twins slightly inaccurate. My experience of being a twin, and knowing several others, has been of a mutual longing for identity. Yes, we all love being twins and appreciate the close relationship that develops, but oftentimes we still struggle to be different, to set ourselves apart from the other and be known, not as half of a whole, but as our own person. It will be interesting to see what develops between the two sisters as the book progresses, and how their relationship changes as they find their individuality. If you're looking for a good read, by all means pick it up!
That's my twin perspective on a book on twins.

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