Twenty-seven sets of twins are included in Twins. The book is comprised of personal essays featuring various twins in various stages of their lives. The photos are tastefully done. Taken by David Fields, they add the perfect compliment to the Sandweiss’ essays. There are twins who are infants and twins pushing 90. Each of the essays are skillfully written—in a way that is personal without being invasive. Some of the twins featured are famous or one of the pair is famous (for instance Tia and Tamara Mowry and Jill Hennessey and her sister Jacqueline), and others featured are not. They talk about their families, their careers/school and their love lives.
Ruth and Rachel Sandweiss’ Twins is an amazing book. I might be a tad biased since I have an identical twin sister, but I don’t think it’s by too much. The collection of photos and personal essays are deeply moving and enlightening. What does it feel like to have a twin? This book gives some insight. The authors spend a lot of time trying address the unique relationship that twins experience, but they don’t shy away from addressing some of the frustrations that arise from having someone else share your face. The Sandweiss twins are careful to balance the somewhat idyllic nature of being a twin with the reality of always having share and always being considered a unit. Though a twin might be a best friend, in many ways she/he may also be a rival—for attention, affection, and even careers.
Possibly the most fascinating and eerie essay belonged to the so called "Jim Twins." Separated as infants, Jim Lewis and Jim Springer were reunited almost forty years later and learned that they had a lot in common. For one, their adoptive parents both named them James. They were both married to women named Linda, whom they later divorced, and both remarried women named Betty. They both chain smoked the same kind of cigarettes and drank the same kind of beer. The similarities were uncanny!
There is very little to criticize about his book, but one of the primary things that is problematic about this book is the dearth of discussion about fraternal twins, particularly female-male groupings. For a book called Twins, it might be expected that there would be a more balanced representation; yet the Sandweiss twins pay very little attention to fraternal twins. And though conjoined twins are incredibly rare, there is only one set of conjoined twins featured. Though Brittany and Abigail Hensel are the epitome of a great team and the best of friends, for parents of conjoined twins and for conjoined twins in general, it would have been great to see more stories about how conjoined twins "make it work" in their everyday lives. Beyond that, there is very little else to find fault with. There is a balanced representation of male and female twins, the pictures are the perfect compliment, and the stories are funny and heart warming.
Ruth and Rachel Sandweiss have created a sweet and interesting read. While this is a really great coffee table book, it is very unlikely that anyone will sit down with this book and read it in one sitting. However, if you are looking for moving, heart warming and interesting stories told from the perspective of a unique community of people, then I would definitely recommend checking this book out--especially if you're a twin.