Cover Image: Are You Two Sisters?

Are You Two Sisters?

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Member Reviews

Much of how a book is received, depends on the reader’s expectations when they picked it up. Not exactly the expectation of topic, or quality, but the assumed purpose of the book's very existence. In the case of Are You Two Sisters?, the book was marketed to me as a memoir. But in truth, this is an academic work disguised as a memoir. The sociologist-author, Krieger, is well known in the field of personal narrative ethnography, and she has authored several of these herself, writing along themes of lesbianism, blindness, and traveling.

The thing that affected my enjoyment of this memoir-cum-ethnography the most, is this: that an academic who argues for the inclusion of the single-person narrative in ethnography, writes so many of them herself - as though to support or show evidence of her own, already well-supported, premises. It gives the memoir an uncomfortable air of performance.

Are You Two Sisters? explores much sturm und drang around the author’s experience of the lesbian community and her place in it. While questions expressed are relatable, the author’s lack of clarity on them is concerning - as a sociologist, an academic, a lesbian in a lesbian relationship for decades, and someone with plenty of therapy, I expect she has much to say on her questions and experiences. Yet, she writes as someone who is yet to discover her own views, or as someone who has no interest in sharing them - as though to make her questions worthy of discussion by sociologists perusing the text. Again, this feels like a device used to further the book’s perceived value in an academic sociological context.

The chapter on the author’s cats made the read worth it (honestly, could I be any more gay?) and the most insightful chapter is that which discusses the title, and the question many lesbian couples often face. "Are you two sisters" - why does it matter so much to passers-by? How much does their desire to desexualise - or perhaps precisely to sexualise - their memories of us, play into this intrusive question? The perspective offered there is what I expected from the rest of the book, too.

My minor criticisms include the transcription of every banal word of a conversation, and the sense of a search for validation.

I can see myself immensely enjoying this as a text in a sociology or literature class, for discussion with others, for probing and pulling apart, for extricating gems. But having read it as a memoir - or expecting one - I found myself tempted to skim.

But, it has cats, which basically adds an extra star to the rating.
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There’s a lot to unpack from this title.
Firstly, it must be incredibly nerve wracking to be so transparent about one’s relationship to such an honest degree. 
I feel like I was able to feel the emotion the author put in her words. That’s a feat most writers dream of achieving. 

It was slow at times but overall it was a page turner to the end. There were some hard truths to face and I think the author did a wonderful job of describing her experiences.
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Part memoir, part study on the lives of a lesbian couple. the ups and down of invisibility and disability
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I received this book for free for an honest review from netgalley #netgalley

Very enlightening and relatable. I wish for gay and straight people to read this so they might understand.
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