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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Her: A Memoir

Her by Christa Parravani. I read a blurb about this book pre-release and had to get it. So I did

Christa and Cara were the ultimate twins, linked not just by DNA but by a spiritual bond that couldn't be broken under the worst of circumstances. This bond is tried, however, when Cara suffers an act of unspeakable violence and begins a downward spiral of out-of-control drug addiction and self-loathing. When she dies, a piece of Christa dies with her. What does it look like to move on from grief so intense it overtakes our very being and destroys our soul? Is it even possible?

This memoir was truly striking in its search for answers where there are none. There is no answer as to why Cara had to suffer such pain, not just at the outset of her tragedy but for so many years following, reliving the past as if it were a never-ending movie in her mind. Christa searches deep into her heart for an understanding of her sister's mindset, her reasoning, and her pain. It's indescribable, but Christa does one heck of a job trying to help her readers understand a relationship that so few of us have the privilege to do.

Christa is a photographer, and I felt that come through in her writing--and not just when she was describing projects or teaching photography to her undergrads. I felt it in her descriptions and her desire to express feelings through scenes. I felt present in her life, from the moment her father dropped her and Cara off at her mother's for the last time as children through the funeral that Christa couldn't believe was happening yet knew was coming. It was as if I was watching her story play though in a series of photographs at an exhibit, hurling through time and space to feel involved in the work. There were moments in the book where I felt as if I were standing in front of a picture, taking in every small detail, and feeling my heart ache for the woman in the picture.

How does one share in a book feelings that can't be put into words? This is what Christa explores in this beautiful and touching memoir, succeeding in the process of drawing in her reader and opening up her heart as if we were the surgeons examining her soul.

Kindle copy on left, hard copy on right.

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