Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Her: A Memoir” as Want to Read:
Her: A Memoir
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Her: A Memoir

3.66  ·  Rating Details  ·  4,803 Ratings  ·  596 Reviews
Wall Street Journal, "Favorite Books of the Year 2013"
Cosmopolitan, "Best Books of the Year for Women"
Library Journal, "Best Books of 2013"
Salon, "Best Books of 2013"

"Haunting... more than a beautifully written memoir. [A] powerful and raw love letter."—The Washington Post

A BLAZINGLY PASSIONATE MEMOIR OF IDENTITY AND LOVE: WHEN A CHARISMATIC AND TROUBLED YOUNG WOMAN DIES
...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 25th 2014 by Picador (first published January 1st 2013)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Her, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Her

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Faith Anderson
Apr 01, 2013 Faith Anderson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I randomly found this at the bookstore tonight. This is a memoir written by the photography teacher I had at Keene State Fall 2006. Each week in class we had to post pictures on the board for our professor (Christa) to critique. I was a student that one day surreptitiously in class took a picture of Christa while she was sitting on on the table hunched over. I posted this picture on the board and not until she had described the picture as showing a woman frail and sad did she realize it was a pi ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
HER is a tragic story of identical twins torn apart first by a rape and then by death. This is a surprisingly intimate memoir. Christa Parravani isn't keeping many secrets, and the line between herself and her sister Cara is almost nonexistent. She shares deeply personal information about both of them in equal measures. Excerpts from Cara's private writings are scattered throughout the book, including her written account of the rape that destroyed her.

The author's twin sister Cara was a vivaciou
...more
Meredith
The author Christa Parravani gave a fabulous interview about this book on NPR. Unfortunately, the actual book didn't live up to her description of it. Her sister Cara's sexual assault and ensuing drug addiction ending in an overdose and the author's own grief at the death of her identical twin are heart wrenching for the reader, but that's it. The author paints her twin and herself as self-aborbed, self-entitled, self-indulgent, needy, incredibly dysfunctional, inconsiderate, volatile, and immat ...more
Leish
Mar 29, 2013 Leish rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book. I almost don't even know where to begin, or how. To say that I loved this book would be an understatement. To say the writing was beautiful would almost be a disservice. The writing was perfection. This book reached into my soul and grabbed on for dear life. I just can't shake it. But enough about me, let's talk about Her.

I've always had a fascination with twins. I always wished I was a twin, I just found the relationship to be so interesting and enviable. The way Parravani describes
...more
Jeanette
Mar 14, 2013 Jeanette rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Miserable whine after whine memoir. What not to do and how not to think after a traumatic assault- should be under the "her" title.

If you enjoy reading how beautiful and highly educated women with terrific bonds and advantages USE them repeatedly to commit various self-destructive behaviors against their own selves, in order to fill vast internal voids- then this book is the one for you.

And the saddest part of all is that I absolutely think that the surviving sister is in a WORSE place for havin
...more
Angela Risner
Whenever I read a book, I look for the following things:
1. Did I like the characters? Could I root for them? Did I become invested in what happened to them?
2. Did it inspire feelings in me? Did I get angry or sad or happy?
3. Did the story make sense?
4. Did I learn anything, either about myself or a subject?

Her is Christa Parravani's memoir of her twin sister, Cara, and her own life. Cara and Christa are identical twins, who share that secret bond that fascinates all of us single-born folks. My
...more
Patrizia
Jul 14, 2013 Patrizia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How much did I loathe this book?

A lot.


Yes, it is a really sad story. Cara's fate is tragic - a beautiful, independent, saucy young woman, she survives a brutal rape that sends her spinning into Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome and concomitant drug abuse. Eventually, she moves from prescription painkillers to heroin and ODs.

The book isn't really about Cara, though. It's about her twin sister, Christa. Christa suffers from survivor's guilt. Her survivor's guilt takes the form of an obsession with he
...more
Sarah Phoenix
Mar 13, 2013 Sarah Phoenix rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: gave-away
Pretty disappointing considering the premise. Repetitious, morose and without a lot of room for empathy. Or else, I am just a cold heared bitch and missed the point entirely. I choose to believe that as a cathartic memoir this is lacking an emotional connection with the reader.
Kurt
Apr 06, 2013 Kurt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kurt by: Amazon Vine
When I try to name my greatest fear, I tend to choose something that really scares me, but "getting fat again" and "karaoke" and "social rejection in general" are really just the scariest of the things I'm able to name. If I'm being honest, outliving my identical twin is far and away my greatest fear, I just can't name it because the naming makes it real for an instant and I can't even handle that. My brother and I fought hard to construct separate identities when we got to high school and reali ...more
Ruth Turner
Aug 24, 2014 Ruth Turner rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned

DNF

I got to the half way mark and then just couldn't read any further.

I didn't like any of the characters in this book especially the two main characters, Cara and Christa. I thought them selfish, inconsiderate and self-centered, and the more I read, the less I cared about what happened to them.

I didn't particularly enjoy the way the book was written either. The story jumps backwards and forwards quite a bit, and some sections are written from Cara's point of view. It became too much effort to k
...more
Cynthia
Emotional Rollercoaster

The premise of this memoir is how difficult it is to lose a sister, a twin sister. I don’t want to devalue such a horrible loss but by the end of the book I was becoming offended by the implication that twins feel more than the rest of us. The loss of a loved one is just as difficult for everyone. OK I got that out of the way. “Her” is a moving book, it’s well written and insightful. Parravani made herself vulnerable in a way few people would allow themselves to be. Her jo
...more
Nanette
I was drawn to Her based on a review, but I probably would have picked it up based on the cover. The image is striking--two young women, one gazing directly, unflinchingly at the camera, the other gazing downward, almost toward the other woman's feet. I'm not sure which of the two is the author, Christa Parravani, and which is her identical twin sister. It's a fitting image for the cover of the book, which is about the twins' relationship, and is as unflinching and striking as the gaze of the wo ...more
Susan
Jun 29, 2013 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Christa Parravani is an identical twin whose sister has passed away. They grew up in a very dysfunctional home and the girls had an intensely close relationship. After Cara was brutally raped, she became a drug addict unable to recover from her attack. Christa then suffered after Cara's death destructively punishing herself.
This book was depressing - constant struggles just to survive. The girls were intensely close - almost to a point of weirdness that I just don't get but then I don't have a
...more
Denise DeSio
Jul 28, 2013 Denise DeSio rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: incredible
Her: A Memoir, by Christa Parravani, is one of those sad tales of loss made all the more poignant in audio book form for having been read by its author, whose gentle, controlled voice belies the powerful impact of her story.

I have deliberately avoided reading other reviews of this amazing audio book because I don't want to be infuriated by reviewers who downgrade an extremely well-written, interesting (and in this case, fascinating) book because "it's depressing" or "I don't like the characters
...more
Sasha
Apr 28, 2013 Sasha rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sera
Jul 02, 2013 Sera rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Sera by: Book Page Magazine
A sad but strong book about the relationship between the author and her twin sister, whose life became turned upside down after she was violently attacked. Parravani is an excellent writer with an uncanny ability to bring the most minute of details to light in the book. I listened it to on audio. The author was the reader, which I generally don't like, but here it made sense, because the story is so intimate and personal that it probably would have been less powerful if someone else besides Parr ...more
Katherine
With some stories come the feeling that the author had to write them. Not because they love writing, or even because they want to share the story, but because they simply have to in order to move forward. Her is unique in many respects, including this feeling.

It didn't take me long to realize that reading Her was not going to be a comfortable experience, and not just because of it's subject matter. I felt lucky to be reading about Christa's life, I was drawn in immediately, but I couldn't help
...more
Charlene Lewis- Estornell
Losing a sibling is devastating, but losing a twin seems to be like actually experiencing one's own death in a way. Christa Parravani wrote such a haunting memoir of her life with and without her sister, I felt as if I had come to know them both. People who possess self-reflection and the ability to admit and accept their own flaws are far more enjoyable to read about, because the story they tell feels raw and honest. Parravani is just such a writer.

While the author of this book is listed as Ch
...more
Claudia
Jul 26, 2015 Claudia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir
Wow. It was graphic. It was heartbreaking. It was depressing. It ended on a hopeful note. And the basis of the story is my worst nightmare. As an identical twin myself, I could understand the closeness - the SAMEness - that the author feels toward her sister. I've shared the author's experiences of picking out the same item at a store even when not together and longing to have my twin with me as I traveled someplace new (despite having my wonderful husband there with me). I know what it's like t ...more
Maryellen
Mar 10, 2013 Maryellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
What if what defined you for your whole life wasn’t anymore? Identical twins, two halves of the same whole, Christa and Cara were defined by their “twin-ness”. And then Cara was brutally beaten and raped. There was a moment when Christa was by her side in the hospital, looking at her battered face, and for the first time in their lives, they were not identical. The rapist took away their sameness. And in the end, took away Cara’s life by sending her into a downward spiral that even Christa’s tou ...more
Catherine Shattuck
It's rare that a book leaves me speechless. I don't know where to begin. While it was a pretty linear narrative as memoirs go, there were enough gaps, things alluded to but never directly said, that my more rational side kept asking questions as I read. Finally, I understood that I was experiencing the book in much the same way the author had lived her grief and that helped me let go of my need for her to explain every single thing. I can't figure out how best to sum up the experience of reading ...more
Natalie
Sep 12, 2014 Natalie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I carried this book everywhere, and it has certainly lodged itself inside of me.

Such a full, wrenching, despairing, furious yet loving book.

Perfect.
Susan
I think I am in a non-fiction phase. The other day at the library I grabbed, "Brain on Fire", "Her" and "Proof of Heaven", which I am currently reading.

I practically inhaled "Her". I thought the title odd, since the author describes being an identical twin as being both people at the same time. "Her" implies objectivity, and there is none in this book.

Three-quarters of the way through this book, it appears that there is no redemption for the author, Christa, the surviving twin. Instead, there a
...more
Laurel-Rain
Mar 03, 2013 Laurel-Rain rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Told in the unforgettable voices of Cara and Christa Parravani, "Her: A Memoir" is the story of the unparalleled link between identical twins that binds them together in life and beyond.

The haunting childhood they shared, with elusive father figures, was further damaged when Cara was raped as a young adult. Feeling the pain of her twin, Christa was also torn by the experience. But Cara's trauma pushed her down a dark pathway of depression, drugs, and a shocking early death.

The haunting story was
...more
Stephanie (the nerdy princess)
I am an identical twin. When I first heard about this book, I HAD to read it. Of course, my library only had one copy and I sat on the waiting list for about 2 months before this book became available. I knew it was going to be a sad/ hard book to read because I knew I could relate to the book even though my twin and I are still alive and neither one of us suffer from drug use. There were moments that did make me tear up because I could never, NEVER think about not having my twin around. I canno ...more
Lynn
Her is a very moving sad book about a woman who's twin dies of a drug overdose at the young age of 27 leaving her feeling as if half of her deteriorated and disappeared. Though separate people, they had always hung together even after marrying which of course they did closely together. Both women were artists, the dead sister Cara being a writer and Christa being a photographer. Both attended top notch colleges and graduate schools and considered up and comers in academic realms. The tragedy beg ...more
Janet
May 09, 2013 Janet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-bio
Can I just say that I'm a little tired of the trend for memoirs to end like fairy tales? So many authors pour their heartbreaking stories out, and I'm more than full of empathy to appreciate them, but why do they all feel like they have to wrap their stories up into pat little wonderland bows at the end? I don't believe them for one minute. Life is not like that. It continues to rise and fall with the good, the bad and the ugly. So while I liked this tale of what it is like to lose your twin, es ...more
leslye
Jun 25, 2016 leslye rated it liked it
Shelves: memoirs
This is a memoir about identical twin sisters. One is bent on self-destruction and the other seeks a more balanced life. Strangely, after the "wild" sister dies, the "normal" sister begins to take on her twin's persona, complete with drug abuse, promiscuity and emotional chaos. Ultimately she does get her act together and you have to admire her courage for climbing out of such a deep hole.

The writing is beautiful, but the book zigzags back and forth chronologically, which can be confusing. And o
...more
Mary
Oct 04, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. I love it so much that I have to give it 5 stars even though the ending fell into the cliched saved-by-a-man trope. You meet "your person" and all of a sudden you sleep well every night and no longer have any of the problems you did before (or this is how easy Parravani made it sound). Man rides in on a white horse...

Anyhow, I'm glad she's happy and hope things are excellent in her life. I really do. The ending just seemed hurried/too easy/not as honest as the rest of the book
...more
Karyl
Like most singletons, I've always been fascinated by twins, though I've never bullied them and I've tried to avoid asking them rude questions. One of my closest friends is himself a twin, but considering he and his twin don't always get along, this memoir, in which Cara and Christa are simultaneously each other's best friends and worst enemies, was interesting.

While I did have a great deal of sympathy for the girls and their difficult childhood, and for the horrifying trauma of Cara's rape (whic
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Let's Start a Boo...: August Book Review: Her: A Memoir 1 8 Jan 26, 2014 06:44PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Fix: Her by Christa Parravani 3 23 Jan 19, 2014 02:20AM  
  • Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol
  • That's That: A Memoir
  • After Visiting Friends: A Son's Story
  • The Still Point of the Turning World
  • We'll Be the Last Ones to Let You Down: Memoir of a Gravedigger's Daughter
  • Ten Thousand Saints
  • I'll See You Again
  • Land of Love and Drowning
  • The Spark: A Mother's Story of Nurturing Genius
  • Frida: Viva La Vida! Long Live Life!
  • With or Without You
  • Facing the Wave: A Journey in the Wake of the Tsunami
  • She Left Me the Gun: My Mother's Life Before Me
  • Song Without Words: Discovering My Deafness Halfway through Life
  • Banished: Surviving My Years in the Westboro Baptist Church
  • The Three of Us: A Family Story
  • A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York
  • Fourth Down and Inches: Concussions and Football's Make-Or-Break Moment
6458054
Christa Parravani is a writer and photographer. Her photographs have been exhibited internationally, and are represented by the Michael Foley Gallery in New York City and the Kopeikin gallery in Los Angeles. She has taught photography at Dartmouth College, Columbia University and UMass, Amherst. She earned her MFA in Visual Art from Columbia University and her MFA in Creative Writing from Rutgers. ...more
More about Christa Parravani...

Share This Book



No trivia or quizzes yet. Add some now »

“It seems to me that the difficult thing in life is to find what stirs you and move toward it. Mom put us first but also put us in the way of whatever moved her and, so, avoided the anxiety of the unknown, the fear of failure, the pain of opening up her heart and feeling her losses. Her selflessness was also her selfishness.” 6 likes
“Nobody wants to be alone in misery. Cara experienced no shame in admitting that need. Not only did she not want to suffer alone, she demanded co-suffering from all who dared love her.” 5 likes
More quotes…