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Millie-Christine : Fearfully And Wonderfully Made

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Conjoined twins Millie-Christine endured kidnappings and slavery, in both the United States and England, before rising to prominence as performers in traveling shows throughout Europe.

284 pages, Paperback

First published June 1, 1999

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Joanne Martell

3 books2 followers

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5 stars
8 (19%)
4 stars
18 (42%)
3 stars
8 (19%)
2 stars
6 (14%)
1 star
2 (4%)
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews
Profile Image for Taylor Brimhall.
51 reviews5 followers
January 3, 2021
This is the story of my Great-great-great Aunts so I’m obviously giving it 5-stars (even though the author didn’t do a great job writing it). I really do love Millie-christine’s story. I wish I could have known them. I believe their strength and perseverance lives on inside of me. When life is beating me down I often think of them and what they went through. Lucky to call them family.
Profile Image for jj Grilliette.
442 reviews1 follower
May 6, 2022
Very interesting read about the girls and the kind of life she led
Profile Image for Melissa Dally.
481 reviews4 followers
March 9, 2013
23. Millie-Christine Fearfully and Wonderfully Made by Joanne Martell - This is a biography about a famous pair of conjoined twins who were born in the US south as slaves in 1851 and throughout their lives became famous not only for their unusual body, but for becoming fluent in 5 languages, talented singers, and accomplished musicians. They were joined at the backside at the sacrum, but were nearly completely separate (similar to how Daisy and Violet Hilton were joined). Most interestingly, they are frequently referred to as a single person. As though they are a single girl with 2 heads rather than two people. They clearly had their own unique personalities, but even they would refer to themselves as Millie-Christine, one girl rather than as twins. I don't think I've read about another set of conjoined twins who felt this way. Chang and Eng Bunker who predated them were always referred to as twins and 2 separate people.

It was pretty fascinating to read about their lives. Despite the chaos of their early years, they were always kind to people, always doing what they could to help family and friends, doting upon their many nieces and nephews. They even opened a school for kids where they were from and supported the school financially the rest of their lives as well as making many generous anonymous donations to several colleges. They were much-adored, although when they were in France, they were referred to (and treated like) a monster. They were also put under a lot of pressure to allow themselves to be intimately examined (which was not OK with them since they were ladies and this was the 19th century). They offered to lift their blouses and show where they were joined, but they kept gunning for a full exam. Which they didn't get. They compelled the sisters to undress, but they absolutely would not allow their most intimate parts to be examined, much to the disappointment of the examiners.

My one complaint about this book is too much of it focuses on the where/what/how they were exhibited rather than how they felt about it, behaved, etc. Especially in their childhood years. There is interesting insight on some of the other famous folks they traveled with though.
Profile Image for Unwisely.
1,418 reviews14 followers
August 13, 2009
OK, I know, a second Siamese Twin book in a month. I'm sure I picked it up because it was recommended to people who read the story of the Hilton Sisters. This was another fascinating biography - these twins were black, born into slavery, kidnapped, taken to England, where their owner (with their mother) retrieved them...and took them back to the US, despite the urging of the British.

Like the Hilton sisters, Millie-Christine performed as a traveling entertainer, and worked with PT Barnum (and, incidentally, Cheng and Eng. Did you know they owned slaves?) After the Civil War, she/they (the sisters used both, their mother referred to her daughter (singular), and the identity issues must have been fascinating) were free, and consciously worked to buy land for the family.

And apparently they were mostly considered to be a sign of the wonders of divine creation, rather than freaks, which sounds entirely more comfortable for them.

So. The story was fascinating, but lacks some of the pizazz of the other autobiography - there was much less of a record left by the twins themselves or their family, and there aren't people left to recount anecdotes. So it's a bit drier than the other, and I didn't feel like I got to know them. Overall, a good read.
3 reviews
June 30, 2009
Story of Siamese twins born into slavery and their life performing on the road. They were highly intellligent-could speak five languages, beautiful, talented and generous to the causes they believed in.
Profile Image for Jennifer.
71 reviews
February 19, 2016
Felt like more of a research project than a biography. It's well-researched, but there's no sense of narrative in the writing. I know it's non-fiction, but I'd still love some storytelling, rather than a long list of facts (some just barely related to the twins at all).
March 22, 2019
Born in North Carolina in 1851 the child would have been brought up in slavery and forgotten. But at birth Christine was born with a much smaller sister on her back whose name was Millie. From that moment on Christine-Millie was a fascination to everyone. She was checked by many puzzled and excited doctors who most just wanted to experiment. They started doing side shows were they would sing, dance, talk fluent in five different languages and recite their own poems. These shows first started in America but even moved to Europe were the girls got the chance to perform in front of Queen Victoria and her children in 1869. At one point they traveled with a circus. In 1882 Christine-Millie settled back in North Carolina on some land they had bought were they lived the rest of their life, until they died October 1912.
This book was very informative and give much history surrounding the time and life of the people back then. It even goes into depth about everybody's part in the Siamese twins lifetime. It does a good job placing all of the found parts of Christine-Millie's life. It was overall a history lesson of things that took place from the 1850s to the 1900s.
Displaying 1 - 8 of 8 reviews

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