Twins add twost tp fictional talesJune 27, 2008
I recently got back from a conference on the East Coast. During the five day trip we had trainings interspersed with music and singing. This music was provided by a two person band that wrote and played original music. The group was quite good, but what really struck me was the fact that they were twins. The interaction they had with one another added a fun element to the atmosphere, having the same mannerisms, finishing each other’s sentences, etc. I was in awe of this amazing gift of having someone share everything so closely with you. Going back to the works of Shakespeare, twins have played a vital role in many works of fiction. Here are just a few to wet your appetite, to explore the intricate world of having a twin.
Sharon Creech’s tale of two young twins and the crazy adventures that befall them is a great laugh. “Ruby Holler” follows Dallas and Florida, 13-year old orphaned twins, as they move into a home with an eccentric older couple, and slowly begin to feel at home again.
“The Memory Keeper’s Daughter”, by Kim Edwards is a powerful story about the bond of family. When two twins are born, a healthy boy, and a girl with Down’s syndrome, the girl is disowned by her father. He demands that the nurse put the girl away and tells the mother she has died. The nurse disobeys these wishes, however, and runs away with the child. The story speaks of loss, regret, guilt, and the depth of love.
A well-known children’s book, “Jacob Have I Loved”, by Katherine Patterson, explores the unseen aspects of having a twin. The novel revolves around the life of Sara Louise, whose twin sister is beautiful, smart, and charming, leaving Sara feeling like she doesn’t have a place or identity. As she grows, and learns more about her sister and herself, she comes to realize that she can, indeed, be both a twin and herself.
For a different take try Mary Higgins Clark’s “Two Little Girls in Blue”. Two twin girls are kidnapped from their home; only one turns up in a car. A note says that Kathy has died, but Kelly, through an unexplainable connection, refuses to believe she is dead, resulting in a spellbinding conclusion.
My personal favorite fiction novel about twins is Lori Lansens’ “The Girls”. The girls of the title are Rose and Ruby Darlen, twins conjoined at the head since birth. Abandoned by their mother the girls are raised by their aunt. Rose decides that the twins need to write down their story, a history of their life together. So the book progresses, as the reader learns the story of these two sisters and the society that refuses to accept them. From the first few lines, “I have never looked into my sister’s eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon”, the reader will not be able to put down this beautiful, heart-breaking story.