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on 1 August 2016
This is a brilliantly sad book. I myself met June gibbons briefly after her twins death in the caswell clinic. I too was wrongly diagnosed with schizophrenia and fed a toxic fault dose of drugs I never needed. She won't remember me but I saw some of her grief and return to a single person at a distance, her strength then inspired me and still do today. Back in 1993 I knew nothing of her past as I was just another patient. She lives fairly close to me now and I often wonder how she is doing but only recently made the connection of who she was by chance. After reading this book I now understand why I looked upon her back then as a courageous force. I have suffered and survived my own struggels and fights but nothing compared to June. I wish her luck and hope she found her Bob Marley look alike. This is a real and down to earth account of tragedies and triumph against all odds. A gripping read that took me one weekend to complete.
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on 9 August 2017
The Silent Twins is a truly jaw dropping tale that once read will never be forgotten, and Marjorie Wallace does it justice. This is a well written and well researched book and it is generously interspersed with precious excerpts from the prolific diaries kept by the twins.

This is a mystical story. The two ‘silent’ twins turn out to be anything but, and, whilst in their physical selves they were contained to two small cells in Broadmoor, in fact travelled further in terms of alchemical quest than pretty much anyone. The author was deeply affected by these girls, and it really shows in her writing. I really like how Wallace naturally turns to descriptions of water and the sea, when talking about the girls. Her likening of the journey that the girls set out on as a compulsory cruise sent chills through me, it was so apt, casting an eery Titanic like atmosphere as the girls sailed away from the outside world. The girls too, in their poetry, often turned to the sea. The sea is a powerful motif for the unconscious mind and for guilt and the girls often brought out such metaphors in others, showing the profound effect they had on other people’s unconscious minds.

Jennifer and June Gibbons wanted to be writers, but, they were the story themselves. The story is fascinating throughout but, to quote Joyce, ‘there’s a hole in the ballad’. And it is the most frustrating piece of the jigsaw to be missing, right at the centre of what went on here. Where is the diary material of Jennifer in the weeks preceding her strange and unsettling death? We are given just one, and it is small, and tantalising : ‘I have at long last conquered my fear of death and now I am no longer a baby but a woman. I can see, oh yes, Lord, now I can see’.

One only has to glimpse their diary material to know that these girls had extraordinary depth, and unusual insight and perception. Yet all this scope and potential was destroyed by what can only be described as a curse. I’m not much a one for all that and seek psychological explanations for most things, but, like a lot of the case workers, staff, and doctors, by the end of this tale I was questioning it. It was quite uncomfortable.

Obviously these two take pacts very seriously- although intriguingly they do break them on occasion, which results in all out war. What I don't understand is why they couldn't negotiate a new pact- that allowed for them both to live. Who set the rule that one had to die? There is so much mystery here. For instance, June tells us, many years after Jennifers sacrifice, that Jennifer had a 'cold, cold heart'. It is difficult to know what to make of this, since the act of sacrifice itself is thought of as a loving one. . What else could be traded here? I would dearly love to get my hand on Jennifers diaries and known what she thought. That is the testimony that would answer a lot of questions.

When Jennifer died, she seemed to take the prolific creativity with her. After an initial flood of relief, June lost the desire to write. This shows in Jennifer the alchemical journey of the anima, the original archetype of Lilith, 'she who stole the light'. I have no doubt Jung would found the sheer amount of mythological themes here exhilarating.

How could two intelligent, creative, and principled young ladies go so wrong, and, how did they end up with such a harsh sentence at the most notorious institution in Britain, Broadmoor? These questions are answered but there is an uneasy feeling throughout. Wallace does ask some tough questions that I respected, and she was not afraid to say that she thought the diagnosis of schizophrenia at Broadmoor was convenient since it allowed a wide prescription of drugs.

Jennifer and June give us a quite extraordinary glimpse of deeper forces or as Wallace described it ‘deeper tides’. This is a look into the world within, a reality within a reality, a fight to the death with one’s mirror image who in this startling case, is made flesh. In the chilling words of June Gibbons ‘Only one should lose, not both. That is the Game’.
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on 18 February 2014
I grew up in Haverfordwest, I was six months older than these girls and I remember seeing them around the town and hearing the rumours that surrounded them. Such a powerful trap they were caught in, such a sad sad existence, as if growing up and the teenage years aren't hard enough, they were certainly dealt a cruel hand. I hope June has a happy life now, she deserves to be happy, and kind wishes to her family, they have suffered so much too. An intense read but worth the perseverance.
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on 25 May 2017
Both dark and light at the same time and written with such literary professionalism with special attention paid to each detail surrounding the lives of the 'Silent Twins' whom loved and hated each other in equal measure.

I especially appreciated the genuine nature and non-judgemental tone of the author and would highly recommend to all readers that enjoy non-fiction/biographical stories with an almost mystical twist and tragic but beautiful ending.

5* rating does not do it justice, however, this is the highest rating Amazon will allow therefore, it must remain.

#RIPJenniferGibbons #GodBlessTheGibbonses
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on 26 May 2015
Great interesting book. The story stays with you. Creepy and morbidly fascinating. One of those truly strange real life stories.My only reservation was that the book relied to heavily on the girls story writing at times. Although this is part of the story, it dragged on a bit in places, but overall a good read. Read it, and make your own minds up about the silent twins. Were they victims, or perpetrators? ..
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on 30 January 2015
The writing skills of two people who were diagnosed at 'mute' are astounding. The twins have a gift of expression that most people can only wish for. I found the explanation of the relationship between the twins to be moving and sadly inevitable. This book really is a must for twin studies.
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on 22 July 2014
This book I am enjoying as I lived in Haverfordwest when the twins were there. They went to the same school as me and I do remember them so well. We all tried to get them to join in with what was going at school at that time. It is so sad things ended up the way it did.
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on 19 February 2015
Many years ago there was a documentary about this tragic sisters. Sad haunting story. A game that went too far or something more sinister?
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on 25 September 2017
Very interesting read
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on 4 September 2017
Good book intresting read
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