HER: A Memoir by Christa Parravani
A memoir for sure, but so much more.
At times, a difficult story to read and re-live with Christa, about her and 'Her' identical twin sister, Cara, set around their lives in the Boston area.
As identical twins, they lived so much of their lives as one, which becomes the challenge for Christa after the tragic death of Cara. This is a tale of life, tragedy, death and the survival of the human spirit over evil, at least for one twin. It is the story of how our lives are a complex jumble of relationships, decisions and choices; how we meander through what makes up our lives. Christa shares a view of how much more complicated this is when you are two people, living so close, almost as one being.
Cara's life spirals out of control after a brutal attack and rape; such a violent act and violation from which she never recovers. This book shares some of the tales of growing up twins, their family life after their mother's divorce from their father; a second marriage that also fails and their unbreakable ties that bind them and keep them so close through all of life.
Christa reveals the inside thoughts and struggles Cara experiences for years after the attack; a failed marriage, drugs, alcohol, and a strange detachment from many of the things that bound them together for years.
HER chronicles some bizarre actions from Cara, in an immense struggle to stay close to her sister, who is trying to hang onto her own life and also facing challenges. Christa portrayed this most human life struggle with such clarity, candor and honesty. The story is riveting and her survival is certainly a struggle after Cara's death. She is ridden with guilt, remorse and the conflicting desire, after several years of difficult times with Cara, of wanting to be by her side, even in death. And these feelings are almost undeterred.
A great read, even as you are facing the attack, the aftermath, and the ensuing unraveling of so many lives around the twins. This book is hard to put down. As you read on and hope for survival and redemption, you'll be cheering for Christa's survival.
I heard of Christa and Cara's story on an NPR interview and just had to pick up the book. I'm glad I did, it was a superb if not sobering story, but offers triumph and hope in the end.
HER: A MEMOIR
Author: Christa Parravani @cparravani
Publisher: Henry Holt and Co.
Published: March 5, 2013
Length: 321 pp
Reviewed by: Emerson J. Clauss, III