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3.68  ·  Rating details ·  6,012 ratings  ·  674 reviews
A blazingly passionate memoir of identity and love: when a charismatic and troubled young woman dies tragically, her identical twin must struggle to survive.

Christa Parravani and her identical twin, Cara, were linked by a bond that went beyond siblinghood, beyond sisterhood, beyond friendship. Raised up from poverty by a determined single mother, the gifted and beautiful t
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Henry Holt and Co.
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Average rating 3.68  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,012 ratings  ·  674 reviews

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Faith Anderson
Mar 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jeanette (Ms. Feisty)
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
Mar 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Feb 24, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Angela Risner
Feb 10, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
Sarah Phoenix
Mar 07, 2013 rated it it was ok
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.
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jul 14, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Ruth Turner
Jul 14, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned


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
Sep 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Susan Bartol
Apr 18, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
May 09, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Apr 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Denise DeSio
Jul 28, 2013 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
Apr 21, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
This is some freaky-ass shit. Maybe I'll give it another read sometime in the future, with the perspective of already having read it a first time. And then maybe I'll be a little more able to sympathize with the author. But I doubt it.

The insight:

Beware: Christa Parravani is pretentious, holier than thou, and sooooooo much better than her dead twin, Cara, was--you know, the twin whom she says in seven different ways was fat without actually using that word. She berates her sister for her heroin
Sep 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 08, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Catherine Shattuck
Mar 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I carried this book everywhere, and it has certainly lodged itself inside of me.

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

Mary Blye Kramer
Oct 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
How it must feel to lose a sister, your only sibling, your identical twin. Parravani writes with an openness and beauty and rawness that sucks you in and won’t let you go until you’ve devoured the final page. I loved this book.
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
Jul 21, 2016 rated it liked it
I would find it hard to find someone who after having read this book, didn't feel moved. With that being said, however, its very clear that the author is still struggling immensely with her loss, and that a few more years of reflection could have possibly produced something more fruitful. I want to hear more about Christa's recovery and her new life, living with her husband in the aftermath of her "worst years." I wan to ask what is it like being with someone who didn't know that part of you? An ...more
Jul 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Leslye ✴
Jan 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 17, 2013 rated it did not like it
Probably cathartic and necessary for the author to write this after she suffered the terrible loss of her twin sister to a drug overdose but a complete mess for the reader.

The author doesn't do a good job of drawing the reader in, setting the stage, painting a picture. She throws everything she has at the reader all at once - drugs! sex! divorce! - and the effect for the reader is like opening a stuffed closet and having all the contents, including the bowling ball on the top shelf, crash on you
Jul 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Nov 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Laura by: INDIEBOUND WHITE BOX ARC
Shelves: non-fiction
Best memoir I've read in a long long time. ...more
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Let's Start a Boo...: August Book Review: Her: A Memoir 1 9 Jan 26, 2014 06:44PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Fix: Her by Christa Parravani 3 23 Jan 19, 2014 02:20AM  

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Christa Parravani is the author of the Indie bestselling Her: A Memoir, which shares Parravani's journey through grief after the loss of her identical twin sister Cara. Her was named the Amazon Debut Spotlight Pick for March 2013, an Amazon best book of the month, and an NPR critics pick. Vanity Fair calls Her "astonishing." Her was an Indie Bound Next Pick, a 2013 Books for a Better Life nominee, ...more

Articles featuring this book

Her Favorite Books About Duos: A twin relates the emotional bond she and her sister shared in the debut memoir, Her, and offers five recs about...
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“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.” 6 likes
“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.” 5 likes
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