We Became Like a Hand: A Story of Five Sisters

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Ballantine, 2002 - Biography & Autobiography - 289 pages
As the oldest of five sisters, Carol Ortlip identified herself as the "translator, " the one responsible for making sense of the outside world for her four younger sisters. In this moving, beautifully written memoir, she seeks to make sense of her own world, of which her sisters are a deeply important part. As children, each sister seemed essentially placed, becoming the one the rest had been waiting for: Carol (translator and guide), Kate (nurturer and second in command), Shari (prophet and poet), Danielle (compliant mediator), and Michele (youngest and the family conscience). Their love for one another permeated their childhood and sustained them during their mother's depression, their stepfather's emotional abuse, the challenges of growing up, and the profound tragedies that threatened to break even the strongest heart. Throughout this touching, ultimately uplifting memoir, the "hand" serves as a poignant metaphor for how Ortlip is both intrinsically connected to and distinct from the people she loves most.

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WE BECAME LIKE A HAND: A Story of Five Sisters

User Review  - Kirkus

A memoir of the bonds of sisterhood, as recalled by the eldest of five sisters.Ortlip grew up in northern New Jersey in the 1950s, daughter of an artistic, ineffectual father and a mother whose ... Read full review

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User Review  - mzonderm - LibraryThing

In this overly indulgent memoir, Carol Ortlip tries to make sense of the first forty years of her life. The oldest of 5 sisters, with a mentally ill mother who eventually leaves the family, Carol ... Read full review


Chapter One Fade In Fade Out
Chapter Two Our Mother Gone
Chapter Three Aftermath

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About the author (2002)

Carol Ortlip, an elementary school teacher, has held a variety of jobs, from king crab fisher in Alaska to horse-drawn cab driver in Manhattan. She hosts her own weekly radio show in Vermont. She lives in Brattleboro, Vermont, with her life partner, Gemma.

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