Chang and Eng

by Darin Strauss | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0749005262 Global Overview for this book
Registered by BettyBoekwurm of Porto - City, Porto Portugal on 4/1/2006
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5 journalers for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Saturday, April 01, 2006
The fictionalized version of the story of Chang and Eng, a pair of conjoined twins that lived in the 1800's. Born in Siam, it is because of them that the expression "siamese twins" became associated to conjoined twins.
Very well written, in the voice of Eng, the stronger of the two brothers.

Journal Entry 2 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Wednesday, May 31, 2006
I've decided to turn this into a Bookring, if I have anyone interested. No strict rules, just please make a journal entry when you receive the book, and another when you've read it. Also, let us know when you've sent it.

Participants (in order):

charlenemartel (Canada - Int'l)
silverstarry (USA - USA)
bakerwhencan (USA - Int'l)
amberC (Australia - Aust. pref.)--> Currently here


Started on 20th June 2006


Journal Entry 3 by charlenemartel on Monday, December 11, 2006
I am so sorry it took so long to get this dealt with. I am going to message the next person and get it sent right off. I loved reading this. Very unique book, great in detail and it takes the reader on a really incredible journey where there are many conflicting emotions brought to the surface while reading it. For me at least.
Thank you for sharing and once again, so sorry for the delay.

Journal Entry 4 by silverstarry from Berkeley, California USA on Friday, January 05, 2007
This book arrived while I was out of town for the holidays. Can't wait to read it!

Journal Entry 5 by silverstarry from Berkeley, California USA on Sunday, January 07, 2007
I have mixed feelings about this book. I think that the idea behind the book (telling the story of conjoined twins from one twin's point of view) was very interesting. I had two main issues:

(1) The book skimmed over or completely skipped years at a time. I'm not saying that I want a minute by minute account of their entire lives, but the author gave little tastes and moments that captured their situation and then glosses over decades. I'm not referring to the back and forth between their childhood and their adulthood either. I guess the author was going for the "leave the audience wanting more" approach.

(2) The author tries to hard to convey their twins' otherness by using similes and metaphors that he (the author) deems Asian ("My brother's skin was as mucky as the Mekong itself"). In general, I disliked the excessive and sometimes clunky use of similes and metaphors ("Aggression had become as vulgar as a row of women of easy virtue on a street corner," "A line of four threadbare trees gesticulated like marionettes behind the flagstaff," "Wilkesboro was among those bygone cheerful hamlets that were so numerous across the map of North Carolina they seemed like stars in the nighttime sky," "Moist patches of her scalp were visible under her thin gray hair, like peat bog spied through the reeds of a marsh, and her hairline gave way to a glistening forehead just as a marsh would open onto a river," - and these all in the first chapter).

As far as the story itself goes, I liked the way the author attempted to fill in the blanks (although if Chang and Eng have any surviving family members, they might not appreciate the creative license). I read Geek Love when I was in college, and that novel centered around a family of circus freaks, including female conjoined twins. The novel was told from their sister's point of view, but Chang and Eng made me think about Geek Love from a different point of view.

Thanks to BettyBoekwurm for sharing this book! I will mail it to bakerwhencan in a few days!


Journal Entry 6 by silverstarry from Berkeley, California USA on Monday, January 08, 2007
Mailed to bakerwhencan today:

DC# 0306 0320 0003 2277 2021

Journal Entry 7 by bakerwhencan from San Francisco, California USA on Friday, January 19, 2007
Arrived! Thank you! I'll be back with a journal.

Journal Entry 8 by bakerwhencan from San Francisco, California USA on Saturday, June 23, 2007
Sorry to everyone for hogging this so long!

I started this book, got very engaged, then had a hard time, then became more engaged at the end again.

Very fascinating story, and I learned a lot about the history of Siam.

I've mailed this off to AmberC in Australia today.

Thank you for including me BettyBoekwurm.

Journal Entry 9 by wingamberCwing from Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on Monday, July 02, 2007
Arrived today. I have one other bookring before it.

Journal Entry 10 by wingamberCwing from Darwin, Northern Territory Australia on Sunday, July 08, 2007
I had a hard time with this book. I kept putting it down then coming back to it. A fascinating story but I think the way it was told didn't grab me. I would have preferred it to be chronlogical.

Journal Entry 11 by BettyBoekwurm from Porto - City, Porto Portugal on Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Back home!!

My first ring to make it back. Thanks to amberC for sending it and many thanks to all for participating!

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