Tuesday, October 29, 2019

The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets

The Miracle and Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets. Sarah Miller. 2019. 320 pages. [Source: Review copy]

First sentence of the prologue: In an empty nursery, behind two woven wire fences topped with barbed wire, five nine-year-old girls waited for their father.

Premise/plot: Sarah Miller’s newest book is a biography of the Dionne quintuplets: Yvonne, Annette, Cecile, Emilie, and Marie who were born on May 28, 1934. Their arrival and survival captivated and fascinated the world at large not just for weeks, months, or even years but for decades. Their birth thrust them into fame, a fame that they could hardly hope to escape. The Dionne parents didn’t ask for it, nor their older siblings—or younger siblings that would follow. The county, country, nation, world deemed the parents incapable of raising the quintuplets. It wasn’t just that they would need help or support—nurses, nannies, doctors, all of which would take money. No they were judged by the crowd, the mob, society to be unfit to decide how to raise these five. They were not to have any say in the day to day decisions or the decisions that would prove more significant and lasting. They were begrudgingly allowed to visit—if they were deemed healthy enough—but the children did not belong to them or with them. When the parents finally did get custody of the quintuplets, when they were allowed to live with their parents for the first time, it would prove difficult and challenging. There would always be a strain, a strangeness. The quintuplets would always, always relate to one another best. For better or worse.

Life is a miracle. All life is a miracle. The quintuplets birth was miraculous certainly. But it was also tragic by most anybody’s standards. No matter their age—babies, toddlers, children, teenagers, young adults, adults—challenges plagued them. It didn’t have to be, a tragedy of its own. Their strange upbringing, the fame and attention, did not prepare them for life, for the real world, to live full lives apart from one another. No one should be treated as a spectacular spectacular.

My thoughts: Incredibly sad, that is how I’d describe this one. I expected ups and downs. Perhaps more downs than ups based on the title. But this one was all downs. The sad thing is that in retrospect some of the downs turned out to be more “up” than previously thought.

Miller pieced together the story well from two extremes. The “facts” as seen from both sides are far, far apart. Many sources seem to exaggerate and play around somewhat loosely with black and white facts. It must have been challenging to research and not take sides and form strong opinions. But Miller did a good job in my opinion. If I was slow to finish (I started this one in August) it was because the book was so bleak. Biographies are like this sometimes.

© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

1 comments:

Lark 2:45 PM  

Have you read The Quintland Sisters...the fictionalized story of these girls? I've wondered if that one is any good.

Post a Comment

I'm always happy to hear from you! To help fight spam, comment moderation has been set up for posts older than two days. Feel free to ask me questions or ask for recommendations!

Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

You should know several things before you contact me:

1) I do not guarantee a review of your book. I am just agreeing to consider it for review.
2) I give all books at least fifty pages.
3) I am not promising anyone (author or publisher) a positive review in exchange for a review copy. That's not how I work.
4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
5) I do not guarantee that I will get to your book immediately. I've got so many books I'm trying to read and review, I can't promise to get to any one book in a given time frame.
6) Emailing me every other week to see if I've read your book won't help me get to it any faster. Though if you want to email me to check and see if it arrived safely, then that's fine!

Authors, publishers. I am interested in interviewing authors and participating in blog tours. (All I ask is that I receive a review copy of the author's latest book beforehand so the interview will be productive. If the book is part of a series, I'd like to review the whole series.) Contact me if you're interested.

Unique Visitors and Google PR Rank

Free PageRank Checker

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge

2018 Kitty Lit Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge

Join the Victorian Reading Challenge
Linked to sign up page

Family Tree Reading Challenge

Family Tree Reading Challenge
Link to sign-up page

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge

2018 Share-a-Tea Challenge
Linked To Sign Up Page

2018 Charity Challenge (Sign Up)

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge

2018 Good Rule Reading Challenge
Link to sign up page

2018 Picture Book Challenge

2018 Picture Book Challenge
Link to sign-up page

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge

Join the 2018 Middle Grade Reading Challenge
click image to go to sign up post

Good Rules Cheat List

Board books and picture books = new is anything published after 2013
Early readers and chapter books = new is anything published after 2013
Contemporary (general/realistic) = new is anything published after 2007
Speculative fiction (sci-fi/fantasy = new is anything published after 2007
Classics = anything published before 1968
Historical fiction = new is anything published after 2007
Mysteries = new is anything published after 1988
Nonfiction = new is anything published after 2007
Christian books = new is anything published after 2000
Bibles = new is anything published after 1989

My Blog List

(Old) Challenge Participants

Becky's Hosting These Challenges

100 Books Project: Fill in the Gaps

Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

  © Blogger template Newspaper III by Ourblogtemplates.com 2008

Back to TOP