The Miracle & Tragedy of the Dionne Quintuplets

By: Sarah Miller

When the Dionne Quintuplets were born on May 28, 1934, weighing a grand total of just over 13 pounds, no one expected them to live so much as an hour. Overnight, Yvonne, Annette, Cécile, Émilie, and Marie Dionne mesmerized the globe, defying medical history with every breath they took. In an effort to protect them from hucksters and showmen, the Ontario government took custody of the five identical babies, sequestering them in a private, custom-built hospital across the road from their family—and then, in a stunning act of hypocrisy, proceeded to exploit them for the next nine years. The Dionne Quintuplets became a more popular attraction than Niagara Falls, ogled through one-way screens by sightseers as they splashed in their wading pool at the center of a tourist hotspot known as Quintland. Here, Sarah Miller reconstructs their unprecedented upbringing with fresh depth and subtlety, bringing to
new light their resilience and the indelible bond of their unique sisterhood.


Afterword. “A Note on Dialogue.” References. Source notes. Index. Black-and-white photo inserts.

ISBN: 9781524713829

JLG Release: Oct 2019


Sensitive Areas: Sexual abuse, Implied rape
Topics: Dionne quintuplets , Ontario, Canada , Sisters , French Canadians , Celebrities , Multiple birth , Family , Siblings

$17.85  Member Price


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Praise & Reviews

Starred or favorable reviews have been received from these periodicals:

Booklist*, Kirkus Reviews, The Horn Book Magazine*

Horn Book

The “miracle” referred to in the title was of course the birth of the five identical Dionne sisters in Ontario in 1934, the first time quintuplets were known to sur-vive. The “tragedy” is pretty much everything else about their story, with the baby girls taken from their parents to be raised in a custom-built hospital led by the excellent The “miracle” referred to in the title was of course the birth of the five identical Dionne sisters in Ontario in 1934, the first time quintuplets were known to sur-vive. The “tragedy” is pretty much everything else about their story, with the baby girls taken from their parents to be raised in a custom-built hospital led by the excellent—and controlling—Dr. Dafoe. “The babies’ parents had to ring a bell at the gate and wait for the guard to let them inside.” As much exposé as biography, Miller’s book is a propulsive account of what life in that hospital was like for the girls, who lived there until they were nine years old, receiving necessary treatment for their initial fragility, certainly, but also serving as both a science experiment and as a tourist attraction, with thousands of visitors lining up daily for a chance to observe the “quints” at play. Their eventual repatriation to the family was a decidedly mixed affair, as the girls had become used to their own society and were not welcomed by their older siblings. They were also, as alleged by three of the sisters fifty years later, sexually abused by their father. To her credit, Miller avoids a sensationalizing tone, allowing the facts to speak for themselves. International media darlings during the Great Depression, the Dionne sisters are virtually unknown to today’s young people, but Miller’s intense focus on what the girls were going through makes their story timeless. Readers may start this account for the horror but finish with sympathy. Substantial back matter includes a lengthy “references” section, thorough source notes, and an index.

Book Details

ISBN

9781524713829

First Release

October 2019

Genre

Nonfic

Dewey Classification

920

Trim Size

9 " x 6"

Page Count

320

Accelerated Reader

Level 0; Points: 0;

Scholastic Reading Counts

Level 0; Points: 0;

Lexile

Level 1110L

Format

Print Book

Edition

Library edition with trade jacket added

Publisher

Random House

Potentially Sensitive Areas

Sexual abuse, Implied rape

Topics

Dionne quintuplets, Ontario, Canada, Sisters, French Canadians, Celebrities, Multiple birth, Family, Siblings,

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