I have not made much progress at all on the dog blanket for the shelter, I am a very slow knitter! I did however finish reading Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss. Below you will find my review.
The novel, Chang and Eng by Darin Strauss was certainly one of the most unusual and interesting books that I have ever read. After all how many times do you read about conjoined Siamese Twins?
Born in 1811 on a poor fisherman’s small thatched houseboat on the Mekong River in Siam Chang and Eng lived a full but unusual life to say the least. It started out full of love and support but then came many troubled times for these most wonderful siblings. They had many adventures from being in freak shows in the circus to being married men with their own families.
Their father unknowingly gave them one of the best blessings of their lives when he taught them Gung-Fu at a very young age. This form of mental and physical exercise would prove to be invaluable to them throughout their lifetime as would an old saying he also taught them…Mekong fishermen stay abreast of change. River men’s judgment helps one to make the appropriate decisions at the appropriate moment and diminish the influence of fate.
Chang and Eng had two distinct personalities which often times made living attached to each other quite a struggle. They learned from their most loving mother that fighting with each other was fruitless so therefore they had no choice but to learn to get along well together. Their love and support of one another was very touching and sweet.
Reading about their marriage and family life as adults was most interesting. Their marriage to two southern sisters was especially unusual considering the time period. I will say that I would have come up with a slightly different arrangement than the one they used for their marriage bed.
I thought it very odd that they owned slaves considering what they had been through in life. The brothers were hard workers in spite of their handicap but they did need help in running the small farm where they lived during their marriage. I would think however that hired help would have been a more gentle answer to the situation.
Although there were many moments of happiness in this story it has more than its share of sadness. I did not cry until the very end and I can’t imagine anyone not getting at least the slightest bit teary eyed. The story of Chang and Eng had perhaps the most emotionally touching ending that I have ever read.
I put off reading this book for a long time thinking it would be far too sad to read. Now I am glad that I read it. By using the first person point of view in telling Chang and Eng’s story, Darin Strauss captured their true essence so very well. It feels as though I have personally met them and have been familiar friends with them for a long time. It would have been a most interesting and wonderful friendship.