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Vanishing Twins: A Marriage

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  418 ratings  ·  71 reviews
"It's like we're the same person. We finish each other's sentences. This is what we've been taught to desire and expect of love. But there's a question underneath that's never addressed: Once you find someone to finish your sentences, do you stop finishing them for yourself?"

As long as she can remember, Leah has had the mysterious feeling that she's searching for a twin—th
Paperback, 304 pages
Published September 4th 2018 by Soft Skull Press
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Average rating 4.11  · 
Rating details
 ·  418 ratings  ·  71 reviews

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Sep 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: memoir, non-fiction, arc
Vanishing Twins is a memoir about a marriage – but it is also so much more. It is an exploration of identity and gender, of growing up and finding oneself, of culture and literature, of ballet and advertising. I adored this.

Leah Dieterich frames her story both in ballet and in the science of vanishing twins, using metaphors and literary analysis to construct a picture of her twenties and her marriage. She meets her husband Eric fairly young and gets married to him at an age where most people are
Nov 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Actually 3.5 Stars ...

The promise of this book checked all of the boxes: great independent publisher, woman, fragments, memoir, open relationship, metaphor. However, even though I devoured it (fragments make a quick read) there was something nagging at me the whole time I read it, and it did not really dawn on me until the end.

First off, the writing is smart and there are some dazzling places, fit for highlighting with their deep insight and metaphor. But this book did not need to be fragmented.
Diane S ☔
Oct 01, 2018 rated it liked it
3.5 thoughts soon.
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Leah Dieterich weaves a few different themes through her memoir but the strongest threads that make Vanishing Twins a remarkable reading experience are the ones about her marriage. The flow of fragmented ruminations and life stories boldly push the emotional envelope of love and trust. Sometimes when you read essays or memoirs about someone's lovelife, their heart seems small and delicate, but here, in these dazzling pages, Dieterich's heart feels large, expanding, and brave. ...more
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I started to read this book months ago, but it wasn’t the right time, so I stopped and read some other things. Looking at the dates on Goodreads, I realized I returned to it exactly three months after I started it. The timing was perfect. I found myself open and emotional, crying at certain parts and marveling at the deftness with which Leah Dieterich makes connections and choreographs metaphors. I would like to write a book like this someday.
Jun 08, 2020 rated it liked it
If my whole review of this book could just be a shrug, that would about cover it. Look, this is well-written, and of course, we all have stories to tell. For me, the fragmented little chapters worked because the author is super fragmented. She has no idea who she is or who she wants to be. I read an entire book about her, and I still don't know. She came across as, if not exactly spoiled, then clueless about how her life is extremely privileged. The extended metaphor of the twin thing really did ...more
David Gerrard
Oct 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing

A masterclass in subtle, layered, beautiful prose that also tells a riveting, unconventional love story
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
holy t!Ts
Sof Sears
this book is so beautiful & painful. I can see the influence of Maggie Nelson particularly here & I love when writers can honor and emulate other writers without “copying” them—I think writing in response to/with others’ work is one of my favorite qualities in writing, you can trace these ghosts of other writers and books in a way that feels reverent but also completely new and its own original thing. the fragmented form is really minimally and well-rendered, and the honest explorations of desir ...more
Edina Paljevic
Sep 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
I did not enter this book knowing much about what it would be like or who the author is. I did not even hear any reviews on it before hand. I ended up enjoying it a lot more than I thought I would. This book discusses identity and gender as well as women's hardships. Her memoir discusses love within a marriage and the hardships that occur throughout it. I myself am not married but by reading about her marriage, I felt like I learnt a lot. This book ended up being stuck in my head for the next fe ...more
Julia Sherman
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is a book for anyone who has, will be or is currently in a romantic relationship. It's a timely look at the dynamic of coupledom, one that I found fascinating, and relatable. ...more
Sep 03, 2019 rated it liked it
I'm a sucker for memoir. But then, I'm usually disappointed by them. In order to pull off a memoir, you've got to be highly intelligent and generous. You have to make it about the reader, not you. I would say that most who write memoirs can't do this. The only ones who can are great novelists, ironically, or perhaps logically.

I give this one 2 and a half stars b/c it wasn't terrible. I did feel the whole twin metaphor was a bit of a stretch at times. She seemed to be reaching, reaching to find
Oct 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Leah Dieterich lays all of her insecurities and uncertainties excrutiatingly bare in the excavation of her marriage. Using compelling prose, she peels back the surface of everything, and it is mesmerizing; she digs until she understands what she feels, what she wants, and why she wants it. Exploring open marriage, bisexuality, honesty, and fear, this is a eye-opening dissertation on love, desire, commitment, and human nature -- and Dieterich holds nothing back in the mining of her life.
Chris Roberts
Aug 28, 2018 rated it did not like it
A married couple are stoney mouth,
I counted two words passed at their dinner party.

Why bother?

Same-game marital-scape, after five years, exit stage left, escape,
easy-smooth divorce, have her/his infidelity on tape.


Chris Roberts, God of Simultaneous Time
Jun 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed how this was written. Little bits and pieces of the story all tying together. *received ARC from book giveaway*
Sep 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I highly recommend this memoir. I read the first 70 pages, expecting not to like it, in front of its shelf at the bookstore. I felt like the clerk kept giving me the “just buy it already” eyes, so I did. I read the rest of it curled up in bed that night.

The author feels incomplete. That she must have had a twin in the womb that vanished and now she needs to seek this twinness in others. She finds a twin in her childhood friend, in her office companion, in her husband, and the androgynous women
Jul 25, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's refreshing to read a memoir as real as this one. I always feel like authors polish up the best parts and skate over the tarnish. Not Dieterich. She gives us such an honest narrative. This book is brilliant. It has me wondering if maybe I have a twin somewhere. ...more
Chelsea Bieker
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved this memoir--Dieterich offers a meditation on so many things--twinship, love, sex, bodies, place, art and more. Told in beautiful sparse prose, the vignettes come together to create such a sure narrative of a loving marriage that feels wholly surprising and tantalizing. Think Maggie Nelson, Sarah Manguso and Joan Didion mixed with Dieterich's original energy. This is a book I wanted to savor, but instead read feverishly in about two sittings. This book has really stayed with me. ...more
Nov 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Uriel Perez
Jul 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
'Vanishing Twins' compounds snapshots of dance, the twin-ness of life, and unspoken desires to reap a startling meditation on love's dissolution and rediscovery.

Leah Dietrich's writing feels true and utterly vulnerable; the story she shares, of the dive into an open marriage with her husband of nearly a decade, is plagued with doubt, specters of shame and existential terror. The emotional whirlwind of this book cuts deep. And remarkably, it is the most uplifting thing I've read in a long time.
Clara Johnson
Apr 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Leah's voice is artful and unfolds the complexity of desire in surprising ways. She is deft in her juxtapositions of love and movement and creates space for exploration through her storytelling. ...more
Pam Mooney
Sep 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A remarkable book that will certainly have a different meaning for every reader. I found the vanishing twin theme the most intriguing as I have had some of the same feelings. Although it
reads like a novel it is a memoir that is truly written from the heart and documents a search for a life style that fits and offers comfort. It feels honest and vulnerable and quite off the norm as the author works through her personal and professional relationships. The dance references add a bit of insight to t
Apr 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
beautiful read. both the style and content, together, really capture something subtle & elusive about our inner narrative—its inscrutability, maybe? highly recommend.
Sarah Ng
May 11, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
4.5 or 5 stars...Either way, close to perfection.
Couldn't put this one down.
Original. And smart. And brave.
alex g.
i loved this book but i did not like it. even writing this review is uncomfortable -- never have i read someone write my own psychological and emotional entanglements, fantasizes, whims and quirks so accurately it's almost a bit scary. a book about the symbolic meaning the writer has given to twinship to explain her own sexual and romantic attachments, her exploration of couplehood and selfhood, of polyamory and bisexuality and gender, of growing pains. i devour papers about twin psychology beca ...more
Jessica Herman
Jun 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved and devoured this book. Leah's writing is brilliant--the way she describes so honestly the tensions and contradictions in partnering with friends and lovers, the layers of meaning she uncovers in language and imagery, her own story that is nothing short of completely captivating. I couldn't recommend this book highly enough. ...more
Nov 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
the first 70 pages were hard for me to connect with the larger picture. but then the later half of the book blew me away. her words are are poetic, precise, probing about the human nature of marriage, relationships, and love. can't wait to read more from her. ...more
Aja Gabel
Dec 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I loved the hell out of this book. Propulsive, beautiful fragments about what it means to merge yourself with people, how intimacy demands loss, how to rewrite yourself out of traditional narratives of love. I devoured this.
Apr 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A stunning memoir; Dieterich's journey with her identity, sexuality and relationships with others paints a portrait that I felt connected to. I expected to read a narrative of one's marriage, but it was so much more: an education on ballet, vanishing twins, and pursuing answers even when you're unsure of the question. I'm thankful this piece of literature exists! ...more
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Leah Dieterich is the author of Vanishing Twins: A Marriage (Soft Skull 2018.) Her essays and short fiction have been published by Lenny Letter, Lithub, Buzzfeed, Bomb magazine, and more. She is also the author of a book of thank-you notes, thxthxthx: thank goodness for everything. She lives in Portland, Oregon.

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“It’s like we’re the same person. We finish each other’s sentences. This is what we’ve been taught to desire and expect of love. But there’s a question underneath that’s never addressed: once you find someone to finish your sentences, do you stop finishing them for yourself?” 3 likes
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