Double Time by Jane Roper – Book Review

Double Time: How I Survived – and Mostly Thrived – Through the First Three Years of Mothering Twins by Jane Roper
Published by St. Martin’s Press, an imprint of Macmillan

After trying in vain to have a baby and enduring fertility treatments, Jane Roper finally learned that she was pregnant. With twins. Following the initial moment of panic, Roper – a writer and reader – searched for a book that was, at the time, nonexistent: a memoir of the first years with multiples. Roper’s own first few years with her twin daughters were filled with many exceptionally joyful times, but also with renewed depression and professional hardships.

Double Time is a funny and insightful look into life raising twins. Much of what Roper discusses will be relevant to all parents, life with young children viewed through Roper’s wry sense of humor:

After extracting what cat food I could from Elsa’s mouth – not that it mattered, really, but the idea of one’s child eating horsemeat and fish eyeballs and whatever else is in dry cat food isn’t terribly pleasant, especially when, as Alastair pointed out, we hadn’t formally introduced those foods yet – I grabbed the dishes and went into the kitchen to find a towel to mop up the water. –p. 109

Of course, Roper also brings in the challenges that are unique to parenting twins, or children very close in age in general, such as the inability to be in two places at once as twin babies grow into toddlers, and both decide to engage in risky or disgusting behavior at the same time.

As the soon-to-be mother of twins, I found Double Time to be an honest and open look at twin parenthood. It is reassuring, even when Roper discusses the challenges, because she explains how she and her husband, Alastair, were able to meet those challenges without loss of life or limb. Her approach is descriptive, rather than prescriptive, which is also reassuring as she shows a picture of a family making it and being happy, rather than an unattainable picture of familial perfection. Towards the end of the book, she says something that sums up perfectly why Double Time is so reassuring, when responding to the eternal ‘how do you do it?’ question:

Of course the answer to all of these questions – in any context – is that raising twins is not a matter of being some kind of superhuman wonder parent. We simply don’t have a choice. We just do it…. Not always well, and certainly not always with the amount of patience and perspective or consistency we’d like. But we do it. –p. 259

I would absolutely and unequivocally recommend Double Time to new parents of twins, but I think many parents – perhaps mothers in particular – will resonate with Roper’s experiences. Highly recommended.

Buy this book from:
Powells | Indiebound*

Source: Publisher, via Netgalley.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.

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A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi – Audiobook Review

A First-Rate Madness by Nassir Ghaemi, narrated by Sean Runnette
Published in audio by Blackstone Audio, published in print by The Penguin Press Hardcover

Synopsis:

From the publisher:

Nassir Ghaemi draws on the careers and personal plights of such notable leaders as Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, JFK, and others from the past two centuries to build a compelling argument: the qualities that mark those with mood disorders also make for the best leaders in times of crisis. By combining analysis of historical evidence with psychiatric research, Ghaemi demonstrates how these qualities have produced brilliant leadership under the toughest circumstances. Ghaemi’s analysis offers powerful tools for determining who should lead us and encourages us to rethink our view of mental illness.

Thoughts on the story:

Okay, so, fascinating! Ghaemi presents a very convincing argument to theory that leaders with mood disorders excel in a crisis. In addition to his examples of Sherman, Lincoln, Churchill, Gandhi, and JFK, he also offers counterexamples, such as Bush, Blair, and Nixon, which only helped to support his theory.

One thing that stood out to me, somewhat unrelated to what Ghaemi had to say, came as a result of having listened to The Psycopath Test by Jon Ronson not long beforehand. Both psychopathy and mood disorders, based on the the reportings of these two authors, seem to be noteworthy largely for the amounts of empathy persons with the disorder have. For psychopaths, of course, the the problem is a lack of empathy, but I was surprised to learn from Ghaemi that a noteworthy trait of depressive and bipolar mood disorders is actually an over-abundance of empathy, which is part of what makes persons with mood disorders such effective leaders, in Ghaemi’s point of view. For me, though, it was just fascinating to think about the variety of of disorders that could be caused by (or at least related to) either too much or too little empathy. Truly, the human brain is a complex thing.

Thoughts on the audio production:

Sean Runnette has recently become one of my favorite narrators of nonfiction. He delivers material in a straightforward manner, with an appropriate amount of interest and emotion. Thanks to Runnette’s strong performance, Ghaemi’s thesis is easy to follow.

Overall:

Fascinating and well-narrated. Dive in with either print or audio.

Buy this book from:
Powells: Audio/Print*
Indiebound: Audio/Print*

I’m launching a brand-new meme every Friday! I encourage you to review any audiobooks you review on Fridays and include the link here. If you have reviewed an audiobook earlier in the week, please feel free to link that review as well. Thanks to Pam for creating the button.

Source: Audiofile Magazine.
* These links are all affiliate links. If you buy your book here I’ll make a very small amount of money that goes towards hosting, giveaways, etc.
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