Divided Minds

Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia

Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn S. Spiro, M.D.

St. Martin's Press

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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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Book Excerpts

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DIVIDED MINDS
BOOK ONENOVEMBER 1958PamelaI know where Mrs. Jardin keeps the crowns, we all do. They are locked in a cabinet high above the utility sink in which we wash our paintbrushes and the yellow sponge erasers used for clearing the blackboard at the end of each day. Only on very special occasions, like a birthday, does she take a crown out of the cabinet and with great dignity crown the lucky king or queen of the day, a royal blue velvet coronet trimmed with silver foil for girls, a glowing red and gold one for boys.This day is my day, my birthday, and I've been waiting all semester for

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About the Author

Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn S. Spiro, M.D.

PAMELA SPIRO WAGNER is a writer and poet living in Wethersfield, Connecticut. She is the winner of the 1993 Connecticut Mental Health Media Award, Tunxis Poetry Review First Prize for three consecutive years, and the 2002 BBC International Poetry Award. Her work has appeared in The Hartford Courant, Tikkun, Trinity Review, Midwest Poetry Review, and LA Weekly.

 

CAROLYN S. SPIRO, M.D., is a private practice psychiatrist and writer living in Wilton, Connecticut. Pamela and Carolyn worked together for three years on Divided Minds.

Carolyn Spiro
Pamela Spiro Wagner

Pamela Spiro Wagner

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Available Formats and Book Details

Divided Minds
Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia
Pamela Spiro Wagner and Carolyn S. Spiro, M.D.

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
St. Martin's Press
August 2006
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9781466805392
ISBN10: 1466805390
336 pages, Plus one 8-page b&w photo section
$9.99

Trade Paperback

Trade Paperback
St. Martin's Press
St. Martin's Griffin
August 2006
Trade Paperback
ISBN: 9780312320652
ISBN10: 0312320655
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 336 pages, Includes eight pages of black-and-white photographs
$16.99
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