The Legend of the Ditto Twins

 The Legend of the Ditto Twins 

Everyone loves twins, but no more so than twins themselves. That's the message in Jerry Douglas' The Legend of the Ditto Twins (Bruno Gmünder), an exploration of all-American twins Mark and Clark, who get a bit too close for their mother's comfort.

The novel follows their sexual awakening "from a modest dairy farm in America's heartland to the glamorous world of Berlin's physique models, from the wonderland of Prague's adult film industry to the fast lane of New York's glittering club life... and ultimately, all the way to the Supreme Court of the united States."

A perfectly charming read, more Carry On Twincest than hardcore porn, it takes its cue from cosy Americana like The Waltons ("Goodnight Mark!", "Goodnight Clark!"), but once the lights go out, the fun starts. Unfortunately, Douglas relies way too much on the long since broken taboo of twins being into each other: this novel is at least 10 years too late. We've had Bel Ami's Elijah and Milo Peters, who've done everything the Ditto twins have (and more) in full HD technicolour. And they aren't the only naughty twins in the biz - the Goffney twins have a colourful backstory worthy of a feature film.

Douglas throws in some ripped-from-the-headlines issues - there's a thinly-veiled version of the Westboro Baptist Church nuts - and we're asked to accept that same-sex incest is the next big civil rights issue. There might be something in that, but a lightweight slap'n'tickle book might not be the place for it.

What's unforgivable is the final, jarring change of tone, delivering the most distasteful, inappropriate climax (involving those famous twins from September 11) to any novel I've ever read.

The Legend of the Ditto Twins does work, however. It's a fun romp with a serious side, and the twins themselves are endearing. It's just a shame about that misjudged finale.

Next time: We check out "Chulito" by Charles Rice-Gonzalez.



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