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‘The Other Sister’ Like Reading a Movie

‘The Other Sister’ Like Reading a Movie

Dixon's Unique Style Makes for Intense Read

By Lex Voytek

Dianne Dixon’s “The Other Sister” is cinematic and thrilling. I initially picked the book up because, as a fraternal twin myself, I was intrigued that a major premise of this book is about the bond of fraternal twins – but this book soon had me reading for much more.

The twin connection is immediately overshadowed by the other relationships in the story – in particular, the mystery and tension between protagonist Ali and her husband Matt had me devouring this book in less than two days. It’s their relationship that is the most dynamic and touching by the end.

Dixon articulates many of the complexities of married life – trust, fidelity, work/life balance and intimacy – exquisitely. She isn’t subtle, but she uses drama in a way that one usually expects only to see in film. This isn’t a huge surprise, as Dixon is an award-winning screenwriter as well.

The missed opportunity in this book is in Dixon’s development of the twins’ relationship. Dixon focuses a lot on the love/hate aspect, and unnecessarily makes Morgan, Ali’s twin, the antagonist and a slave to her lust.

Morgan is initially portrayed as pathetic and petty, yearning for Ali’s beauty and accomplishments. It isn’t until Ali nearly loses everything good in her life that Morgan snaps out of her jealous funk. This is almost bearable, until Morgan completely comes into her own, which involves a major focus on Morgan’s sudden beauty transformation.

Dixon’s ability to portray Ali’s transformation during a time of trauma and uncertainty is impressive. Dixon shows a maturity and resilience in Ali’s character that’s as relatable as it is admirable.

However, because Morgan’s transformation hinges a lot on her becoming fit, tan and style-conscious, her character is disappointing. Morgan’s major struggle after realizing her own physical beauty is then to forgive the lack of physical beauty in a guy she decides to date. This whole revelation seems a bit stale and shallow.

By the end of the book, I was flying through the pages, trying to find out what happened next. Dixon seems to knowingly plant bombs in the middle of the most climactic moments, which took my breath away. While “The Other Sister” certainly has flaws, they are easily overlooked because of Dixon’s movie-like writing style.

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Dennis Domrzalski is managing editor of ABQ Free Press. Reach him at dennis@freeabq.com.

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