Zelda’s Daughters: Synopsis
My novel Zelda's Daughters is based on my life story: I was born to heroin addicts and separated from my severely disabled twin sister when we were babies. My mother Zelda was a life-long drug abuser who grew up in the Bronx during the 1940s-50s. In 1954, at age 18, she began her battle with heroin. In 1964, when we were two years old, she relinquished me to her sister to be raised on Long Island while she raised my twin, exposing her to abuse and squalor. My novel depicts my harrowing and emotional “reunion” with my mother and my twin sister. A story about loss, betrayal, and transcendence, Zelda’s Daughters portrays a New York family’s saga from the 1940s to the 1990s. Its themes include overcoming the legacy of addiction, the indestructible bond of twins, and the redemptive power of love.
Why isn’t Zelda’s Daughters a memoir?
That’s a good question, one I didn’t ask myself until I was asked several years after I’d begun writing it as fiction. The truth is, I was born in 1962, so I had to imagine the first half of the book, based on what my mom told me had occurred within her family. Also, since childhood, I have dreamt of fictionalizing my family’s story in the hopes of creating something beautiful and honorable out of something tragic and destructive. When I was sixteen, I was profoundly affected by William Styron’s novel Sophie’s Choice and decided that being a novelist was one of the coolest things I could ever aspire to be. I hope I have done my family (in this world and the next) proud in rendering our story. And I hope my novel offers readers insight and inspiration in facing addiction’s destructive legacy.
About the Author
I have written for The Associated Press, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, New Woman, American Writer, Crain’s New York Business, and other publications. I have an MFA in Writing from Sarah Lawrence College and have taught English and Creative ....
My Twin Sister....Her name was Alison Rae Schlesinger. She had cerebral palsy and was mentally challenged. She lived in an intermediate care facility (ICF) called Tanya Towers in New York City. She was extremely loving, kind, and childlike. Although she suffered heartbreak, loss, and faced many obstacles, ....