A riveting true story of sisters who were identical, until the voices began "" Growing up in the fifties, Carolyn Spiro was always in the shadow of her more intellectually dominant and socially outgoing twin, Pamela. But as the twins approached adolescence, Pamela began to suffer the initial symptoms of schizophrenia, hearing disembodied voices ...
A riveting true story of sisters who were identical, until the voices began "" Growing up in the fifties, Carolyn Spiro was always in the shadow of her more intellectually dominant and socially outgoing twin, Pamela. But as the twins approached adolescence, Pamela began to suffer the initial symptoms of schizophrenia, hearing disembodied voices that haunted her for years and culminated during her freshman year of college at Brown University where she had her first major breakdown and hospitalization. Pamela's illness allowed Carolyn to enter the spotlight that had for so long been focused on her sister. Exceeding everyone's expectations, Carolyn graduated from Harvard Medical School and forged a successful career in psychiatry. Despite Pamela's estrangement from the rest of her family, the sisters remained very close, "bonded with the twin glue," calling each other several times a week and visiting as frequently as possible. Carolyn continued to believe in the humanity of her sister, not merely in her illness, and Pamela responded. Told in the alternating voices of the sisters, "Divided Minds" is a heartbreaking account of the far reaches of madness as well as the depths of ambivalence and love between twins. It is a true and unusually frank story of identical twins with very different identities and wildly different experiences of the world around them. It is one of the most compelling histories of two such siblings in the canon of writing on mental illness.
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This book tells about schizophrenia from the eyes of twin sisters, one who was personally affected. They take turns giving their point of views of the same experiences.....you won't be able to put it down. They write the book in a way that gets the reader to get into their experiences. I have a new view of schizophrenia. I am so glad I purchased this book. I feel that its contents will help me understand certain behaviors which I may not have understood as legitimate before. Some mental health staff can view behaviors as simple defiance. This book teaches the fears, thoughts, and hallucinations that can be behind those behaviors. This book gives an inside view of the mind of a schizophrenic and I am impressed by their ability to convey the images in the reader's mind. Anyone interested in this disease needs to read this book. Hats off to the Spiro sisters.
Apr 1, 2007
Divided Minds tells the story of twin sister who grow up in a middle class New England family. The story takes the reader from their earliest memories to their mid adult years. What is most remarkable about their story is the descent of one of the twins, Pamela, into the depths of schizophrenia,in the time when psychopharmacological treatment was limited to the introduction of zyprexa which provided Pamela with some relief. The story presents vivid detail of the mind, pain and suffering of Pamela and her family and is written with the talent and the skill that was Pamela's promise as a young student. Carolyn, the other sister and a psychiatrist, adds her voice to the story and portrays the denial most families experience when first confronted with a diagnosis of schizophrenia in a loved one. It is truly difficult to see a family member disintegrate before ones eyes. The Book reads quickly but is filled with near heart-stopping pain.
Publishers Weekly, 2005-05-16 This harrowing but arresting memoir-written in alternating voices by identical twins, now in their 50s-reveals how devastating schizophrenia is to both the victim and those who love her. The condition, which afflicts Pamela (an award-winning poet), can be controlled with drugs and psychiatry, but never cured. When the twins were young, Pamela always outshone Carolyn. But in junior high, Pamela was beset by fears and began a lifelong pattern of cutting and burning herself. After the two entered Brown University, Pamela's decline into paranoia accelerated until she attempted suicide. During the ensuing years of Pamela's frequent breakdowns and hospitalizations, Carolyn became a psychiatrist, married and had two children. Empathetic and concerned, Carolyn nonetheless conveys her overwhelming frustration. and occasional alienation from her sister, when she is unable to help. Pamela's schizophrenia caused their father to sever his relationship with her. Remarkably descriptive, Pamela's account details how it feels to hear voices and to suspect evil in everyone. Though she struggles with her medications, Pamela remains a committed poet and is now reconciled with her father and close to her twin. 8 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Elizabeth Frost Knappman. (Aug.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
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