A Summer Read: Whiskey and Charlie

Whiskey and Charlie

I’d like to say that my identical twins are the best of friends and are not at all competitive.

While I see first hand both the bond that my boys have–I also have to admit there are signs of competitiveness and strains of tension that are part of their relationship.  Recently when I was introducing them to a Dad of a new friend the boys had made, the dad asked how to tell them apart. Will took Luke’s face to show him the “mole mark” that we use to help people distinguish them. Luke blurted out, “I’m the smarter one.”

Well, to be honest, Luke is probably the more organized one. . .but in terms of test scores and grades the boys are about even. They are different individuals and sometimes those differences do drive a kind of wedge between the boys

So it was with much interest that I opened a novel about identical twins: Whiskey and Charlie, by Annabel Smith. William and Charley Ferns are identical twins, but that is where their similarities end. William (who fittingly takes on the name Whiskey after the brothers receive walkie-talkies and learn the phonetic alphabet–Whiskey for “W” ) is über-confident, wildly popular and chooses the fast and lucrative career in advertising. Charlie, growing up in his brother’s shadow, flounders with his career and romantic life–never feeling that either compares to Whiskey’s life that is populated by beautiful models, fast cars, and modern houses.

A life-threatening, freak accident that leaves Whiskey in a coma allows Charlie ample time to reflect on his life with Whiskey and to ponder the question, “Who am I?” and “Who am I without my twin brother?” And using the phonetic alphabet as her structural motif, Smith recounts how the brothers became estranged and how that estrangement is called into question as Charlie sits next to his brother’s bedside.

Reading this as a mother of identical twins was an interesting process. I wanted to know the mother’s point of view both as she watched her boys grow into separate men with lives that seemed polar opposites. I wanted Charlie to be right in his accounting of their lives and to have Whiskey as the “bad brother”  only to realize when I was reading that Charlie represents only one point of view–an unreliable one at that. Ultimately Charlie’s clouded resentment of Whiskey and his own insecurities about who he was could never break open to let in the light of being brothers–until it was almost too late.

Mostly, as a mother, I wanted the brothers to come back together and to celebrate the unique fact that they are identical twins who are nothing alike.

I would definitely recommend this book for any multiples moms or dads, and it would be a great read for your book club! Click here if you’d like to purchase it on Amazon (not an affiliate link) or comment below and I’ll send you my copy of the book (I’m all for sharing!).

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I am a mother of two sets of twins and a singleton. I explore the wild world of multiples and provide resources for other parents of multiples.
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