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October 11, 2005

Book Notes - Marcy Dermansky ("Twins")

A couple of weeks ago, within days I received not one, but two novels about twin teenage girls. Given the subject matter, I was skeptical that I would enjoy either, but I am committed to read/listen to everything sent my way with an open mind, and in both cases, I am glad I did. Tara McCarthy's tale of conjoined twins, Love Will Tear Us Apart, was a surprisingly wonderfully dark first novel, and Marcy Dermansky's TWINS is equally impressive.

TWINS examines the lives of twins, and Dermansky gives each a distinct voice that heightens both their similarities and differences. This book, though centered on teen twin sisters, can be enjoyed by people of any age, I have already lent it to my sixteen year-old niece (who has my mother now waiting for her to finish it so that she can read it).

Here is Marcy Dermansky's Book Notes contribution, in her own words, for her novel, TWINS:

I couldn't stop seeing TWINS: The Movie in my head while I was writing the TWINS: The Novel. Chloe and Sue were real to me, the scenes coming in as if I was part of the audience, watching. I could see my identical twins at the tattoo parlor: skinny and pale, cold and nervous in their pink bras. I could see angry Sue on her unicycle, riding defiantly through the snowed filled suburban streets. Or Chloe, in her shiny uniform on the basketball court, shooting free throw after free throw.

Here are some songs by indie artists that would be on the TWINS soundtrack.

Tegan and Sara, So Jealous
It would be wrong to do this film without a song by the Canadian twins duo. "So Jealous" plays during the film's first horror scene: an eighth grade party. Sue, reluctant to leave Chloe alone, follows to Lisa Markman's party, but she can't follow her twin sister into the closet--where Chloe is kissing boy after boy. Boom the loud guitars and the emotive voices of Tegan and Sara's lyrics. Sue takes jealousy to new extremes.

Esthero, O.G. Bitch
This fantastic hip-hop song screams Lisa Markman. In this scene, Lisa has just come back from modeling the runways in Milan; she's six feet tall, strutting through the halls in high heel "f*ck me" shoes. Sue has followed Lisa into the bathroom, where she finds Lisa on the toilet, red lace panties around her ankles. Sue hates Lisa, but it's more complicated than that. Esthero's words are too perfect: "Fake Ass Bitch / You're just waiting for me to drown / I am the original bitch / I am the girl you won't just admit you adore."

Martha Wainwright, Bloody Mother f*cking Asshole
By the time Chloe reaches her senior year of high school, she is unspeakably tired. There she is, walking the same old walk, first to school, then through the halls of school. It's almost uncanny how Martha's plaintive, clear voice speaks for Chloe's silent suffering. "I am young and I am strong / but I feel all and tired / over fired," the song begins. "You have no idea how it feels to be on your own / in your own home / with the f*cking phone / with the mother of gloom in your bedroom." Feel Chloe's pain, head down, taking step after step, muttering Wainwright's to-the-point chorus: "You Bloody Mother f*cking Asshole."

Regina Spektor, Ode to Divorce
It's another sad scene for Chloe. Her ankle is sprained, the dog has peed on the floor, Sue has run away, and her parents have moved out. Chloe stares, bewildered, at her clueless parents while Spektor sings, slow and needy and clear: "I need your money / it will help me / I need your car / and I need your love / I need your money..."

The Eames Era, Could Be Anything
Here's the happy, upbeat, bounce-off-the-walls song for the soundtrack. Sue has run off to be with her new crush Yumiko: college student, artist, kleptomaniac, and most beautiful Japanese girl in the world. They put on lace dresses, drink tequila shots, and head to a party. "Could be Anything" will by playing at the party. The buoyant, but somehow bitter song captures the mood: "Run along / to find the one / find the one, who could turn you on / I certainly hope that you are happy / with your new change of company / surrounded by your enemies."

Massive Attack, Protection
Maybe I've watched too many movies, because I don't see how TWINS could be made without a montage scene. Montages are a little cheesy, but that's what makes them effective. This Massive Attack song is so moving, it makes almost makes me teary on its own; the ballad will be super strong with the heartbreaking footage of Chloe and Sue displayed on big screen. When you hear the lines "I put my arms around you / I stand in front of you / I take the force of the blow / Protection," there will be some serious hugging going on. Smita will be taking beautiful care of Sue, feeding her samosas and biryiani, and Chloe will be shooting lay-ups under the gentle tutelage of Rodney Markman. And Chloe and Sue, it's true, they will be protected.

see also:

52 Books, 52 Weeks (2006 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2005 Edition)
52 Books, 52 Weeks (2004 Edition)
Book Notes (authors create playlists for their book)
Note Books (musicians discuss literature)