Abigail Pogrebin, author of Stars of David, is back with a memoir exploring the role that has most defined her: identical twin. In One and the Same (October 20, 2009), she offers a fascinating insider’s look at twinships and asks some fundamental questions. What does it mean to have a mirror image? How can you be unique, as we all like to think we are, when somebody shares your exact DNA?
To explore these themes, Abby weaves science reporting and personal memoir with the revelatory stories of other twins, such as football stars Tiki and Ronde Barber, who admit their twinship comes before their marriages; two sisters who stopped speaking for three years; a pair of bawdy, self-proclaimed “twin ambassadors” who have created a media empire around their twinness; and brothers whose shared genetic anomaly wrought unspeakable tragedy. She includes her own memories of a buoyant childhood with her twin sister and best friend, Robin, who used to be effortlessly close. But they don’t have the same intimacy anymore, and Abigail traces the bittersweet process of growing apart from someone she thinks of as part of herself.
One and the Same is also peppered with astonishing facts and statistics about twins. Here are a few:
• In April 2008, a biracial British couple gives birth to fraternal twins, one black, one white, the odds of which, doctors say, are a million to one.
• In 2007, Becky and Birdie Jo Hoaks of Hoopeston, Illinois, who used their identical twinness and their youthful, androgynous appearance to commit crime sprees in small towns, are finally arrested at age thirty-three after sixteen years of swindling.
• In 1979, identical twins separated at birth are reunited at age thirty-nine, and discover their adoptive parents each happened to name them James, that they both chose careers in law enforcement, married women named Linda, gave their first sons the same name (one spelled James Alan, the other James Allan), divorced their wives, married women named Betty, named their dogs Toy, drink the same beer (Miller Lite), smoke the same cigarette brand (Salem), and suffer the same migraines.
To find out more, pick up a copy of Abby’s stirring account of how living identical is both a celebration of sameness and a struggle for singularity that defines us all.
And be sure to catch Abby on the Today Show this Thursday, October 22nd.