Review: The Girls

The Girls – Lori Lansens

The Girls Cover

published 2005, 343 pages

From the book jacket -

Since their birth, twin sisters Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as “The Girls”.  Raised by Aunt Lovey, the nurse who took them in after their mother abandoned them, they have lived all their lives in the small town of Leaford, in an old farmhouse bordered by cornfields.  This is the story of their shared life, two sisters who are ordinary in most respects but who have a relationship of profound and unmatched intimacy.  For Rose and Ruby are conjoined twins, connected inseparably, facing the world side by side.  The Girls is the affecting chronicle of their incomparable life journey, a heartrending story of love between sisters.

Now nearing thirty, Rose and Ruby are soon to be history’s oldest conjoined twins, and Rose decides it is time to write the story of her short but extraordinary life with Ruby.  From their awkward first steps – Ruby’s arm curled around Rose’s neck, her foreshortened legs wrapped around Rose’s hips – this is an unmatched story of the most intense love imaginable.  As Ruby watches Rose write her memoirs, she decides she wants to tell her part too; for though they are as close as two people can be, their lives and voices are wonderfully, powerfully distinct.  Every experience of growing up comes rushing through in their telling – their first loves, their painful choices, losses, and triumphs – but every experience is doubled, sometimes joyfully and sometimes painfully.

The Girlscharts the depths of a miraculous friendship, unsettling and beautiful in its closeness.  As the two stories parallel, diverge, and intertwine, building to an unforgettable conclusion, Lansens aims at the heart of human experience and the fundamental joy of connection.

My thoughts -

This was definitely an enjoyable book for me.  When I first started reading it, I wasn’t sure what I was going to think about the book because something about Rose’s voice, her story, didn’t click with me.  I think my initial problem was that she was telling SO many stories from their childhood when I really just wanted to get to know the two of them as they were in the present – how they lived their day to day lives as 29 year old conjoined twins.  But once Ruby joined in, the story really started to pick up and go back and forth between their past and present, and I began to get involved with the characters and care about them.  Once that happened, I fell in love with these two extraordinary women and their story.  Lansens did such an amazing job writing their two voices so distinctly different from one another, and I actually came to enjoy one twin more than the other, which was kind of interesting.  There weren’t a lot of secondary characters in this novel (besides their “parents”, Aunt Lovey and Uncle Stash), but the ones that were there played an important part in the book and helped tie everything together. 

I’ve been meaning to read this book for so long now, and I’m very glad that I finally got to it.  I can’t say it’s the best book I’ve read or anything, but it is a very sweet and heartwarming story with wonderful characters as well.  I would definitely recommend picking this one up.

My first Sunday Salon

I have never before participated in The Sunday Salon, mainly because I simply don’t have a lot of time to read on Sundays.  But I really feel like sometimes I need a day to post randomly, about my progress or stuff I’ve received in the mail or whatever, without it having to be a review.  So I’ve decided to join.

First of all, I finally finished Lori Lansens’ The Girls, which I’ve been reading for almost a week now.  I really enjoyed it, and will probably post a review later on today.  Upon completing that, I promptly got started on Alice Wisler’s Rain Song, an ARC I received from LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program.  It’s a pretty short book, so I’m hoping to have it finished sometime today or tonight.

I also plan on spending some time working on my blog today – Trish was amazing enough to email me step by step instructions on how to play around with pictures and links and such, and I’m really excited to see if I am smart enough to figure out said instructions (chances are, I will have lots of trouble, but I will certainly try).

Last, I’d love to share with all of you the four books I received in the mail this week from Bookmooch.  I got two by Sarah Dessen (a newly discovered author to me), The Truth About Forever and That Summer, as well as Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild and Jeff Guinn’s The Autobiography of Santa Claus (recommended to me by my District Manager at work).  Add these to my already staggeringly full TBR shelves (I counted today – 142 – I am embarassed yet thrilled at the same time), and I have way more books than I can get to anytime soon.  But it certainly won’t stop me from trying. :)