Tuesday, July 26, 2011
Book Review: Evelyn Evelyn by Amanda Palmer
Title: Evelyn Evelyn
Author: Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley
Artist: Cynthia von Buhler
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: 09/14/2011
Ever read A Series of Unfortunate Events & thought "It would be really cool if instead of focusing on a trio of orphans & mysterious events, it'd be cool if Snicket wrote about conjoined twins?" If you've ever thought that, then you're in luck. Dresden Dolls genius Amanda Palmer has you covered in spades. (Oh yeah, and Jason Webley. I'm not too familiar with his stuff.)
Enthusiasts of genuine tragedy and celebrity intrique, gird your mental loins for an authentic tale of unbelievable hardship and epic catastrophe!
This wholly true and accurate account details the extraordinary lives of Evelyn and Evelyn, a darling but unfortunate pair of conjoined twins who brave extreme circumstances of calamity and adversity, such as the bizarre and bloody night of their birth and subsequent orphaning; their early years on a chicken farm; shocking encounters with depraved gentlemen; life in the circus; the terrible fates of their dearest friends; and concluding with the sisters' rise to international fame via the internet!
Fans of Amanda Palmer won't be surprised at how completely twisted & strange this collection is. A story like this can really only be properly told by someone as wickedly unique as her. It's not PC, but that's not the point of this story. The point is to showcase two talents that have been here all along.
The storyline of the book is quite frankly very dark. If you saw this & thought "oh how cute, a kid's book" then you'll be incredibly mistaken. There's nothing in this that's appropriate for children. The book starts off with the twins' sad beginning & from there goes through a pretty tragic course of events. I don't want to spoil the book for you but there's stuff in here ranging from child abuse to pedophilia. None of it is especially graphic. You never see it "on screen" or directly called out for what it was by the twins, but it is there. People who prefer not to read books with this sort of material will probably want to steer clear or at least get this for a library read. (Hey, nothing wrong with that. I avoid overly tragic movies for the same reason.)
Artwork-wise, it really fits the tone of the story. The artwork is sad and depressing, but intentionally so. After all, it's not like this is a story about two happy-go-lucky girls fighting evil with magical powers given to them by a stray cat. There was a lot of time & care put into the art in this book & I can't help but admire it even as I wince at some of the things inferred in it. (We can thank the uber-talented Cynthia von Buhler for this artwork!)
Overall this was a pretty great read, but I think it'll really only appeal to a specific group of people. It's definitely worth reading but I recommend this as a library read first for anyone who is on the fence about purchasing this book. There will be people for whom this will be an absolutely buy immediately book, but others will be content to read this once, bask in its glow for a while, then remain content to keep up with the twins via the internet.
(By the way, if you haven't checked them out on youtube, do so. It's worth the watch. By the time the video is over the musical stylings of Amanda Palmer & Jason Webley, erm... I mean Evelyn Evelyn will have stolen your heart away. I've included this video below. It's entirely kid-friendly.)
(ARC provided by Netgalley)