Losing My Sister
Losing My Sister
“Family stories grow to be bigger than the experiences themselves,” writes Judy Goldman in her memoir, Losing My Sister. “They become home to us, tell us who we are, who we want to be. Over the years, they take on more and more embellishments and adornments until they eclipse the actual memory. They become our past—just as a snapshot will, at first, enhance a memory, then replace it.” As she remembers it now, Goldman’s was an idyllic childhood, charmed even, filled with parental love and sisterly confidences. Growing up in Rock Hill, South Carolina, Judy and her older sister, Brenda, did everything together. Though it was clear from an early age that their personalities were very different (Judy was the “sweet” one, Brenda, the "strong" one), they continued to be fairly inseparable into adulthood. But the love between sisters is complex. Though Judy and Brenda remained close, Goldman recalls struggling to break free of her prescribed role as the agreeable little sister and to assert herself even as she built her own life and started a family. The sisters’ relationship became further strained by the illnesses and deaths of their parents, and later, by the discovery that each had tumors in their breasts—Judy’s benign, Brenda’s malignant. The two sisters came back together shortly before the possibility of permanent loss became very real. In her uniquely lyrical and poignant style, Goldman deftly navigates past events and present emotions, drawing readers in as she explores the joys and sorrows of family, friendship, and sisterhood.
Judy Goldman is the author of two novels, Early Leaving and The Slow Way Back, and two books of poetry. Her work has been published in Real Simple magazine, and in many literary journals—including Kenyon Review, Southern Review, Ohio Review, Gettysburg Review, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner—as well as in numerous anthologies. Her commentaries have aired on public radio and she teaches at writers’ conferences throughout the country. She received the Fortner Writer and Community Award for "outstanding generosity to other writers and the larger community." She’s also the recipient of the Sir Walter Raleigh Award for Fiction, the Mary Ruffin Poole Award for First Fiction, the Gerald Cable Poetry Prize, the Roanoke-Chowan Prize for Poetry, the Oscar Arnold Young Prize for Poetry, and the Zoe Kincaid Brockman Prize for Poetry. The Slow Way Back was shortlisted for the Southeastern Independent Bookseller Alliance’s Novel of the Year. Judy lives with her husband in Charlotte, North Carolina.