...[an] extraordinary book ... at once poignant and rigorous, a compassionate dual biography and a forthright examination of codified racism. Macy is a resourceful reporter and a strong but never showy writer ... The overall effect is extremely powerful. Truevine may focus on events that began a century ago, but its guiding spirit couldn’t be more urgent.
...[an] expert work of nonfiction ... Its story has gaps that are impossible to fill, though that is part of what makes the book so lifelike ... Though Truevine can’t get into their heads, it does a fine job of describing what their circus companions were like and how lost the brothers must have felt once stranded back home in Virginia.
Truevine is a moving attempt to reconstruct this David and Goliath story, a chronicle of the Muses’ unlikely victory in a game that was doubly rigged against them ... Warm, personable, and empathetically speculative, it centers on experiences that shed light on the brothers’ inner lives ... You can’t fault a writer for not discovering what isn’t there to be known. But it’s hard to escape the sense that some of the time Macy spends developing the Muse brothers’ scant personal history might have been better spent on a subject she assiduously avoids: the attraction of their stage personae as sideshow freaks ... The book’s most glaring flaw is its unwillingness to make a study of the sideshow’s spectators.