Images © Amanda Palmer, Jason Webley and Cynthia von Buhler.
This is a book based on a musical act created and performed by Palmer and Webley, in which they take on the persona of conjoined twins. I have to admit I read it before hearing any of the music, and I found it quite entertaining and charming all the same. (I’ve since listened to some of the music and watched a fine video with clever animation of the song “Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn?” on YouTube.)
The book, or book set, is in fact two small hardcovers in a box, and it tells the origin story and adventures of the character(s). It’s a tale of melodramatic proportions full of unlikely tragedies, but one where Evelyn Evelyn do have some happy moments, and always seem to see the cheerful side of their difficult existence. They are first raised by a chicken farmer, then make their way into a circus where they are teamed with conjoined twin elephants, a partnership that makes all four beings happy. Of course, that happiness is doomed from the start, but then it’s that kind of story.
The art by Cynthia von Buhler is charming without being too cute, creepy at times, but always in a sort of soft, friendly style that I found quite appealing. In some ways it’s an idealized view of the characters as the authors imagine them, and therefore a window into the heart of the idea that Palmer and Webley attempt to portray on stage and on recordings. Therefore, if you find the music of interest, this book is sure to please you. I think it might appeal to many who. like me, were not already fans of the music, too. Neil Gaiman does a fine introduction, and that certainly doesn’t hurt, but the book and story stand up fine on their own for me.