Lone Twin

A True Story of Loss and Found


On her death bed, Laurel Richardson’s sister whispers a deep family secret to her. Those whispered words send the famed sociologist and author on a personal exploration of a lifetime. Lone Twin: A True Story of Loss and Found is an extraordinary story of a search for identity, wholeness, and forgiveness. Grounded in the cultures of mid-Twentieth Century Chicago, New York City, and Los Angeles, Lone Twin weaves the personal with the social, cultural, and political. Richardson shares fascinating, resonant, and humorous stories about her relationships with a suicidal poet, a Swedish fencer, a budding scientist, a Puerto Rican family, a Mafia family, her Russian Jewish and Irish Catholic family, and her famous cousin, Laura Foreman. Her story is at once singular and plural. As Richardson shares her journey towards wholeness and forgiveness, readers are invited to consider their own journeys and ask: Is there something missing in my life? How do I justify my existence? Lone Twin is an exquisitely written book about identity, the search for people who understand us, and the ties that bind. This outstanding example of literary sociology can be used as supplemental reading in a range of courses in American studies, gender studies, social science, child development, and creative writing. It can be read entirely for pleasure and is a great choice for book clubs. An appendix offers discussion questions, projects, and creative writing exercises.

Paperback List price

EUR €20.00USD $25.00

Biographical Note

Laurel Richardson, Ph.D. (1963) the University of Colorado, is a Distinguished Emeritus Professor of Sociology at The Ohio State University. She has been honored with multiple awards including the Lifetime Achievement Award from the International Congress of Qualitative Research.

Review Quotes

“I read everything that Laurel Richardson writes. Lone Twin: A True Story is in my mind her best. … Her story lingers with me now and I am mesmerized with how I might rewrite and redeem myself and my family, as Laurel has done.” – Carolyn Ellis, Ph.D., University of South Florida

“I read it straight away—indeed I couldn’t put it down—and didn’t. I found it a complete page-turner.” – Juliet Mitchell, Ph.D., University of Cambridge

“Laurel Richardson at her most brilliant—my generation’s best writer. Family, another word for pain, and a measure of what we have lost and then re-gained; a vision of what might have been—poetic, haunting, mesmerizing.” – Norman Denzin, Ph.D., University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign

Table of contents


Part 1: What

Chapter 1: Absence

Part 2: School Girls

Chapter 2: Real Twins: Joan And June
Chapter 3: Look-a-Likes: Susan
Chapter 4: En Garde: Ingrid
Chapter 5: Mirror/Mirror: Laurel/Laurel
Chapter 6: Liar-Liar: Leah
Chapter 7: Blood Sisters: Valerie
Chapter 8: Miss Esther
Chapter 9: Maria
Chapter 10: Soul-Mate: Nathalie

Part 3: Family Ties

Chapter 11: Cousin Katie
Chapter 12: Lone Twin
Chapter 13: Forgiving My Family

Futher Engagements
About the Author


Creative writing, qualitative research, women’s studies, sociology, child development or American studies students, and book clubs, helping professionals, twins researchers and researchers of Twentieth Century Chicago and New York City.

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