Christa Parravani memorializes her late identical twin, Cara, in this jarring and touching telling of life after loss.
I picked this book up because last summer I had read an autobiographical excerpt written by Christa Parravani in an amazing book called Women in Clothes. The excerpt spoke to me so much that right away I had to see what else she had written and so was introduced to Her: A Memoir.
In this account, Parravani explores the intriguing, complex and, at times, convoluted relationship between identical twins, particularly in times of distress. Inevitably tasked with the burden of telling their story, Christa shares with her audience her sister’s tragic demise and the violent attack that catapulted Cara into it. She draws parallels between Cara’s self-destruction after the attack, and her own similar behavior after her sister’s overdose. As someone born without a twin, I could never begin to understand just how such a relationship functions, but Her offers a window into this unfamiliar world.
Parravani’s narrative truly testifies to the ripple effect of violence. The destructive consequences of the heinous act committed against Cara shake through each of the people closest to her, but Christa especially. In the loss of her twin sister, Christa also loses her identity. The second part of the book chronicles her attempt to grasp onto a reality absent of her lifelong companion.
I found this to be a stunning story, relatable because it is so vulnerably recounted. I also found it to be incredibly similar to Wild, in that both are about young women coping with grief. For me, the appeal in both of these books lies in the fact that they are about real people with real experiences. They are survival stories written with a therapeutic purpose, lending to a much greater meaning.