Five words from the blurb: Siamese, twins, childhood, circus, independence
Just before Christmas Siamese twins were born in Brazil. I followed a series of links and ended up reading about Siamese twins for over an hour. My random reading ended on an article about Chang and Eng and I realised that I had a book of the same name buried somewhere in my TBR pile, so I dug it out.
Chang and Eng is a fictionalised biography of the original Siamese twins. The brothers were born in Siam in 1811 and went on to become famous, appearing in America, England and France. This book details their life – from their early years in Asia until their death in America in 1874.
I enjoyed learning about how their life progressed, especially their visit to the King of Siam, but it always felt as though something was missing. Chang and Eng had a very interesting life, but unfortunately this book felt a bit dry. It rarely managed to capture any emotion and tended to read like a non-fiction reference book. Occasionally emotions were investigated, but I found them to be lost amongst the overly complex sentence structure. It could be argued that it is an accurate portrayal of how people spoke back then, but I’m afraid it just irritated me.
The male perspective probably helped to further distance me from the book. I felt as though the wrong aspects of their lives were highlighted – for example, the arrival of their children was a minor event, whilst entire chapters were dedicated to small arguments within the marriage.
I’m pleased that I read it, but I’m sure there are better books on Siamese twins out there.
The only other book about Siamese twins that I’ve read is The Girls by Lori Lansens, which I remember enjoying. Can you recommend any other books about Siamese twins?