hen they 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 captivated the world, 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. Their faces sold everything from Baby Ruth candy bars to Colgate toothpaste.
In this masterful work of narrative nonfiction, Sarah Miller examines the lives of five identical sisters forced to endure the most publicized childhood in history — and how they survived their turbulent teenage years to forge identities of their own. Impeccably researched, with photos of the Dionnes from birth through adulthood, this is an enthralling, heartbreaking portrait of a unique sisterhood, imbued with the astonishing resilience of the human spirit.
Amazon Editors' Choice, August 2019
Bookish.com Book Club pick, August 2019
Booklist starred review
Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books starred review
Horn Book Magazine starred review
Junior Library Guild selection
“[A] thorough, fascinating deep dive into the lives of five girls who captured the attention of millions.”
"Miller demonstrates herself once again to be a dab hand at examining a historic media frenzy and analyzing the legacy of its lore"
"As much exposé as biography, Miller’s book is a propulsive account of what life in that hospital was like for the girls"
”An altogether fresh, perceptive, well-written chronicle of this cautionary tale.”
"Miller presents multiple viewpoints with sensitivity, enmeshing the reader in the Dionnes’ lives so successfully that it is impossible not to feel the tragedy of the quintuplets’ lives."