Posted in Book Reviews, Mental Health Advocacy, My Heroines

Book review: Divided Minds by Co-authors Pammy and Lynnie


Pammy and Lynnie: sweet twin
Pammy and Lynnie: sweet twins

I don’t know for sure whose head is bent in that picture, but I guess it’s Pammy.  Ok just a silly introduction to this book review.

The Description as featured

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.

What I dare have to say

I couldn’t turn off that kindle until I had read the last word. Pammy was already close to my heart before I read this memoir of theirs – so you can imagine where she is now in ranking right?

I recall a post on my other heroine and friend’s blog: I think it was on bipolar guilt by association! Yep that’s it. Could we say Lynnie was same? Let’s leave the different label alone but the point remains that you can’t help not ‘catching the flu’ if you hang around or care for a patient right or wrong? and so what if you do? There is so much to explore in that memoir.

I commend the both authors. Their father’s behaviour and maybe the reasons or the siblings approach to him and Pammy altogether, rings so much of a bell in my own neighbourhood. In my case sadly, my brother died not receiving the wink he so much longed from his father. I have drawn my safe boundary and am peace as is. He can stay in his corner and review his own motives!

It’s by now a fact, that I rate such memoir hardly less than a 5.  If you care about such subjects, add the memoir to your Christmas wish list.

Dear gentle readers and followers, Pammy was my spotlight here on Wednesday and you now see that she deserves much more than that right?