Just before I went away on holiday a book arrived in the post. It was published in late 2012 and I was asked to review it for our website. With the busy Christmas season ahead (and here in the southern hemisphere that means end of school year events along with packing and planning the summer holiday!) I popped it away in my “things to read” pile in my suitcase. There was also a feeling of wanting to savour the story, not to read it in haste but also, as with all books on the loss of a twin I come across, a cautiousness about just where it might take me…
With all the rush and hustle behind us, on a quiet summer holiday afternoon, I picked it up and started to read. Dorothy Foltz-Gray began writing eighteen years after her twin sister was murdered and it was thirteen years in the making. I read all of it that afternoon because I just couldn’t put it down.
In With or Without Her, Dorothy shares the inspiring story of the lives she and Deane built together, and the struggle to rebuild her life without Deane. She tells the story with the tenderness of a poet and the insight of a journalist.
Two humans born from the same fertilised egg, alike in every way: identical twins are a fascination. Two people bound to one another by appearance and matching DNA. The relationship is deep, powerful and complex.
Dorothy and her sister Deane were identical twins and soul mates. Though they struggled to be both best friends and separate individuals, they were intimate, bonded for 32 years by their similarities.
Loss of a parent, a sibling or a child is always difficult, but with Deane’s murder, Dorothy lost part of herself, her other half. She found herself struggling to live without the person who had always been her second self.
I enjoyed the way Dorothy weaved her way through her life backwards and forwards from her childhood, back to the dark days as her sister died, backwards and forwards and then onwards into the future where she discovers herself and her twin again.
I know my friends who have lost their twin will find this book moving and in it you will read your own story too. Thank you Dorothy for reaching inside yourself and writing this despite the pain of having to go back into the traumatic past to show us the way to outlast grief, to wade beyond it to be still a twin, with or without her.