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Cassandra at the Wedding by Dorothy Baker
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Oct 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction-mainstream
Read in October, 2011

CASSANDRA AT THE WEDDING. (1962). Dorothy Baker. ****.
The Edwards girls are identical twins – Judith (Jude) and Cassandra (Cass). They were both born and raised on a ranch in the foothills of the Sierras in southern California. Judith still lives at home, but has announced her plans to marry a young man who is about to enter into his internship to complete his M.D. Cassandra is a student teacher at Berkeley, working on completing her doctoral thesis. Their mother died years ago and the girls were raised by their grandmother, whose values were right out of TV family sitcoms, and their father, a retired professor of philosophy. Although the two girls were identical, they forcibly resisted their grandmother’s urging to dress and act alike, and, it turned out, forced them to become somewhat estranged. Cass has to go to the wedding and act as the only bridesmaid. She gets there a day earlier than expected and proceeds to do her best to block the great event. In her mind, the marriage would drive the final stake between her and her sister. It is almost immediately obvious that Cass has mental and emotional problems. She has been consulting a psychiatrist for a long time to try and overcome those problems. The problems all seem to be related to her search for identity – an identity that would be separate from her sister. In this novel, we come to know the Edwards family well, learning of each of its members’ faults and tics. During the course of the next two days, we follow them as the wedding plans are developed and as Cass takes one final step to have her own way over the rest of the family’s wishes. This is a strong story of intra-family relationships and of Cass’s ultimate need to face her own demons. Recommended.
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