Invisible Sisters

Invisible Sisters

When Jessica Handler was eight years old, her younger sister Susie was diagnosed with leukemia. To any family, the diagnosis would have been upending, but to the Handlers, whose youngest daughter Sarah had been born with a rare congenital blood disorder, it was an unimaginable verdict. By the time Jessica Handler turned nine, she had begun to introduce herself as the “well sibling;” and her family had begun to come apart.

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Invisible Sisters is Handler’s powerfully told story of coming of age—as the daughter of progressive Jewish parents who move south to participate in the social-justice movement of the 1960s; as a healthy sister living in the shadow of her siblings’ illness; and as a young woman struggling to step out of the shadow of her sisters’ deaths, to find and redefine herself anew. With keen-eyed sensitivity, Handler’s brave account explores family love and loss, and what it takes not just to survive, but to keep living.

“Invisible Sisters is both heartbreaking and hopeful. Even as Jessica Handler tells us of her family’s losses, she reminds us to celebrate life. Handler shows us how to move forward without being afraid to look back. This book is a gift.”

— Ann Hood, author of Comfort and The Knitting Circle


“Invisible Sisters is an unsentimental but deeply moving look at the ways in which loss––loss past and the loss that is still to come––can shape lives. Jessica Handler’s book is a quiet, near-hypnotic tour de force.”

— Michael Wex, author of Born to Kvetch: Yiddish Language and Culture in All Its Moods


“Invisible Sisters chronicles the ambush of a happy family and its devastation in the face of every hope and effort. What Jessica Handler has rescued from grief, bravely and without self-pity, is the story of her own hard-won survival. The book in which she discovers a self separate from the anguished role she seemed destined to play haunted me from its very first page and has not let me go.”

— Rosellen Brown, author of Tender Mercies and Before and After


Atlanta Magazine’s “Best Memoir of 2009.” The AJC calls it “one of eight great southern books” of the year. The Georgia Center for the Book named it one of the 25 Books All Georgians Should Read.

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