Monday, March 18, 2013

The Silent Twins

1986, 1987 Ballantine edition
Marjorie Wallace
The Silent Twins
Possibly bought newish for $3.95
Worn paperback with spine about to break

Wallace tells of two identical British girls, of West Indian background, who were elective mutes, never speaking to most people, including their parents and older siblings.  They shared a rich but strange fantasy life, including writing novels, and eventually became petty criminals, before being put in an institution for the criminally insane.  Wallace follows their lives till they're about 20, then rushes through the past three years (at that point).  As such, there's definitely no feeling of closure.  The girls had an agreement that if one died, the other would begin to speak.  Wikipedia says that Jennifer willed herself to die in 1993, with a sudden inflammation of the heart.  June has become more communicative since then.

Wallace does her best to be objective, but I'm left feeling that no one-- Wallace, therapists, family-- knew why the girls wouldn't speak.  Their story is both frustrating and heart-breaking, so this definitely isn't a fun read, although there is a lot of irony. 

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