One and the Same
My Life as an Identical Twin and What I've Learned About Everyone's Struggle to Be Singular
By Abigail Pogrebin
(Doubleday, Hardcover, 9780385521567, 288pp.)
Publication Date: October 20, 2009
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One blueprint, two souls. How do you become your own person when there is someone else—your twin—who is exactly the same?
Abigail Pogrebin is a mother, a New Yorker, a writer, a daughter, and a wife, but the role that has most defined her, she knows, is that of identical twin. In One and the Same, she weaves her quest to understand how genetics shape us into a memoir of her own twinship. What does it mean to have a mirror image? How can you be one, singular, unique, as we all like to think we are, when somebody shares your DNA?
In One and the Same Abigail crisscrosses the country and travels the world to explore the relationship between twins, which can range from passionate to bitterly resentful. She interviews football stars Tiki and Ronde Barber, who admit their twinship comes before their marriages; bawdy, self-proclaimed “twin ambassadors” who have created a media business around their twinness; sisters who stopped speaking for three years; and brothers whose shared genetic anomaly wrought unspeakable tragedy. She explores the new science of epigenetics, which shows how the same DNA can yield different results—a moody twin, a happy twin, one who gets cancer, one who doesn’t. She speaks to the twins experts and tries to answer the question parents of twins ask most: Is it better to encourage their closeness or separateness?
Threaded throughout One and the Same are Abigail’s own memories of a buoyant childhood growing up with her twin sister and best friend, Robin. “The Pogrebin Twins” were outgoing, cheerful and hammy, very much alike, and effortlessly close. But hey don’t have the same intimacy anymore, and Abigail traces the bittersweet process of growing apart from someone she thinks of as part of herself.
This is a riveting portrait of twin life by an accomplished journalist who exposes twinship from the inside. It yields fascinating truths about how we become who we are and about the struggle for singularity that defines us all.
ABIGAIL POGREBIN is the author of Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish. A Yale graduate, she has written for many national publications and has produced pieces for 60 Minutes, Charlie Rose, Bill Moyers, and Fred Friendly. She lives with her husband and two children in Manhattan—as does her identical twin sister, New York Times reporter Robin Pogrebin.
Author Abigail Pogrebin says her relationship with her identical twin sister has made the biggest impact on her identity. For her book, One and the Same, Pogrebin shares her story, and those of twins from all over the world. More at NPR.org
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“Spot on. An honest explanation of how multiples feel about the relationship into which they were born.” —Newsweek
“An immensely satisfying, enlightening read.” —BookPage
“A fresh alternative to traditional how-to guidebooks for parents expecting two or more.” —Twins magazine
“This book about what it means to be a duplicate is smart and revealing and wise—and, well, singular.” —The Daily Beast
“[An] enchanting, fascinating book.” —Lesley Stahl of “60 Minutes” and Women on the Web
“One and the Same is a touching, funny, smart book, written with considerable flair. Though it contains medical, social, political, and historical perspectives, it is at its core a book about love and intimacy.” —Andrew Solomon, author of The Noonday Demon
“A goldmine of information and insight into the twin experience. . . . One and the Same is not just for twins or parents of twins. It’s a study of everyone’s individuality. It looks at what makes us who we are and what shapes our identity. It’s a fascinating look at the world of twinship, as well as a compelling read about the search for one’s ‘self.’” —Twins Talk
“A witty and compassionate guide to the myths and science of twinship.” —Honor Moore, author of The Bishop’s Daughter
“Pogrebin’s candor about her own twinship [is] endearing. . . . A juicy read.” —Bookslut
“A page-turner chock-filled with information about twins.” —Pamela Weinberg, co-author of bestselling parent guide City Baby
“Captivating. . . . This fascinating read is as much of a page-turner as the most exciting thriller.” —Bookreporter
“Funny, insightful, and deeply moving—as the mother of twins I found this a must read.” —Kerry Kennedy, author of Being Catholic Now
“One and the Same beautifully captures the complex intriguing elements of identical twins’ unique joys and challenges. This candid exposé of the author’s own twinship experience, and that of others, provides a most delightful and informative look at this special relationship.” —Nancy L. Segal, Ph.D., Professor of Psychology, CSU Fullerton and author of Entwined Lives and Indivisible by Two