A Canadian woman’s remembrance of her heartbreaking childhood with her twin sister.
Debut author Kline and her identical twin sibling, Holly, were born in London, Ontario, in 1966. Their mother, the author says, found it difficult to cope with them from the start, often leaving them in soiled diapers for hours on end. After their father left the family, she says, their mother’s drinking, partying, and physical abuse only increased. Although their mother adored their older sister, Theresa, she treated the twins with cold indifference, the author writes—even as they suffered extreme torment from their bullying brother, Todd. Kline goes on to write that she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by neighborhood boys, starting when she was 5 years old, and that she endured further abuse in incidents involving her mother, her father, and an older gentleman in the neighborhood who was later arrested for murder. Kline’s story offers a barrage of horrors, as seemingly every new person she met brought her pain and suffering—from her young school friend Michael, who was decapitated by a passing city bus, to her stepfather, Hunter, who dug graves on their farm as part of a plot to murder the family. It’s dark and difficult reading, made even more intense by accounts of seemingly supernatural occurrences; from an early age, Kline writes, she and her sister were capable of picking up otherworldly messages—voices that warned them when they were in danger, or even tried to comfort them. Once, the author says, a psychic explicitly told her that she would one day write a book that would “help millions of people.” These fantastic elements lend the book a frightening tone in the beginning, but an account of a UFO encounter simply feels bizarre. Still, Kline does excellent work in reconstructing a troubling past. She paints her memories with excruciating detail, but also with a slightly detached tone that gives the accounts a grave realism. However, the book addresses so many shocking events that readers may find it difficult to process it all.
A riveting but overwhelming memoir that might have benefited from a more focused approach.