OVERRIDE

Divided Minds

Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia

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

St. Martin's Griffin

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, the symptoms culminating 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 an 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.

BOOK EXCERPTS

Read an Excerpt

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
READ THE FULL EXCERPT
BACK

REVIEWS

Praise for Divided Minds

"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."
--Publishers Weekly starred review
 
"[A] riveting memoir . . . Divided Minds does a remarkable job of interpreting [a] hellish realm."
--People, three stars
 
"[Divided Minds] successfully yields compelling insights on familial bonds and the ravaging effects of mental illness on family."
--Library Journal
 
"The combination of first-person narratives provides an unusually well-rounded portrait of schizophrenia."
--Kirkus

Reviews from Goodreads

BACK

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

BACK

READING GUIDE

ORGANIZING A READING GROUP

GET THE GUIDE

Download PDF

TELL YOUR FRIENDS

FIND MORE BOOKS

Go to website

STAY UPDATED

Sign Up
BACK

BUY THE BOOK

Available Formats and Book Details

Divided Minds

Twin Sisters and Their Journey Through Schizophrenia

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

BOOKS FOR COURSES AVAILABLE

BACK

FROM THE PUBLISHER

St. Martin's Griffin

BACK