Now 2024 Previous Articles Road Essays Road Reviews Author Black Authors Title Source Age Genre Series Format Inclusivity LGBTA+ Artwork WIP

Recent posts

Month in review

Are You Ready to Play Outside? by Mo Willems
Blackout by John Rocco
The Cereal Murders by Diane Mott Davidson
Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff
E-mergency by Tom Lichtenheld
Evernight by Claudia Gray
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (audio) by E.L. Konigsburg
Fullmetal Alchemist Volume 19 by Hiromu Arakawa
Golden Gate by Vikram Seth
Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch
Hereville: How Mirka Met a Meteorite by Barry Deutsch
Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
Monoculture by FS Michaels
Museum Trip by Barbara Lehman
The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
The Night Circus (audio) by Erin Morgenstern
NNNNN (audio) by Carl Reiner
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan
Of All the Stupid Things by Alexandra Diaz
Paranormalcy by Kiersten White
Perfect Shot by Debbie Rigaud
Press Here by Hervé Tullet
The Princess of the Silver Woods by Jessica Day George
The Rules for Hearts by Sara Ryan
The Shocking Pink Hat by Frances Crane
Sweet Revenge (audio) by Diane Mott Davidson
The Technologists by Matthew Pearl
There is a Bird on Your Head by Mo Willems
Three Black Swans by Caroline B. Cooney
What's a Ghoul to Do? by Victoria Laurie
Wyrd Sisters by Terry Pratchett

Previous month

Rating System

5 stars: Completely enjoyable or compelling
4 stars: Good but flawed
3 stars: Average
2 stars: OK
1 star: Did not finish

Reading Challenges

Beat the Backlist 2024

Ozathon: 12/2023-01/2025

Canadian Book Challenge: 2023-2024

Chicken Prints
Paintings and Postcards

Privacy policy

This blog does not collect personal data. It doesn't set cookies. Email addresses are used to respond to comments or "contact us" messages and then deleted.

Three Black Swans: 12/05/12

cover art

Three Black Swans by Caroline B Reiner takes its title from The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb. Basically, a black swan is a highly improbably event that actually has happened. Taleb describes these events as: unpredictable, with a massive impact, and something we want to explain to make them seem less random or unpredictable.

In the case of Three Black Swans, the title is a spoiler unto itself — three identical sisters separated at birth with shenanigans involved in their adoptions. The revelation of this long kept secret starts when Missy, the runt of the litter, uses her "cousin" Claire as part of a science class project (create a hoax and report on it).

Now here is where I step aside from the book to explain why I wasn't as impressed with the story as I might have been. The problem is this: it's a cut and dry twins separated at birth (except its triplets) story and it follows all the twists and turns this sort of story usually takes. Here, too, since Missy and her siblings are underage, Cooney has to pull some strings to make their coming together at all plausible. She begins, of course, by stacking the deck by making two of the sisters "cousins."

I hadn't really thought about how formulaic this type of story is until I listened to Carl Reiner's NNNNN which lampoons the twins separated at birth story to epic proportions. Ultimately the problem with Three Black Swans is that it takes this trite plot line completely seriously, whereas Reiner takes it to the most outlandish of extremes — well beyond even the most melodramatic telenovela, and then adds in a healthy serving of blasphemy.

Two stars

Comments (0)

Lab puppy
Email (won't be posted):
Blog URL:

Twitter Tumblr Mastadon Flickr Facebook Facebook Contact me

1997-2024 Sarah Sammis