The story itself is a creative account of Ruby and Rose, conjoined twins, raised by Lovey and Stash. Ruby, as narrator, is writing their life story. Many of the events brought insight into a life limited in many ways but unlimited in areas most people never experience. I found the majority of the book less compelling than I would think and attribute it to the possibility that having Rose narrating means it is written from the 29 year old writing capability therefore lacking a certain depth and intrigue I expected. Although characters were developed, events were not. However, I did read to the end.
I'm trying to put my finger on exactly why I enjoyed this book so much when the last one left me cold. Both were first person narratives of ordinary people in an extraordinary situation (in the last book, a teenager whose town was about to be flooded by a new dam; in this book, two small town girls who happen to be conjoined twins). But the last book was mildly interesting while this one was compelling.
I think a lot of it can be attributed to writing style. The Girls is one of the few books I've read lately in which first person was a necessary and perfect choice. The narrators are speaking directly to the reader in a casual conversational style that feels like you are either chatting with them or reading their diaries. Yes, narrators. I, who normally *hate* multiple first person narrators still really enjoyed this book. It was always perfectly clear who was speaking - in part due to a subtle font change between narrators. The primary narrator informs the reader that there will be a secondary narrator, and the secondary narrator directly introduces herself at the first switch. This might sound clunky, but it isn't. I believe that can be attributed to the "I'm chatting with you" writing style.
There's not a lot I can say about the plot without spoiling it. Suffice it to say, there are several twists - some of which require the second narrator to introduce - and I became quite fond of both twins over the course of the story.
Published in 2005, I don't know why this book did not make it to Canada Reads. A beautifully told story of extraordinary twins raised in rural Ontario by adoptive parents. The description of the smells and the understated story of suffering and heroism, poverty and riches, life and death keep me enthralled.
Couldn't put this book down!! Not a book I would normally choose, but I loved A Wife's Tale and my sister told me I had to read this one as well....so glad I did.
I really loved this book. It was very well written and pulled me in from the very beginning. You will be rooting for 'the girls' as you hear their story. It will at times be heartbreaking, but inspiring as well.
When you pick up a novel about conjoined twins, you might expect a curiosity, a glimpse of a life unlike any you can imagine. Lori Lansens' novel The Girls, about 29-year-old Rose and Ruby Darlen, who are joined at the head, is instead an affecting portrait of the importance of connections, and the distance that exists within even the closest of bonds. The Girls is a masterful tale and reading it will definitely make you a bigger person. This novel fantasizes about what it would be like to truly, deeply and physically know another person to such an extent that it is impossible to live otherwise. Through hardships and highlighting moments of their lives, like the fact they were born in the middle of a ferocious tornado, these twin girls have been always there for each other. Ruby, the exciting twin, writes the occasional chapter at Rose's urging, since she feels her life story could never be complete without the voice of the sister who has been along for every breath of it. Lansen creates completely distinct voices for each woman, and occasionally uses the format to revisit moments from each perspective. The title, itself portrays the strong connection between these two amazing strong women. They find ways to cope with the exclusion they endure from society, struggling relationships and ultimately realize that they are each other’s best companion. At last it comes down to the point where they must decide, who out of the two will live, and that is the hardest decision the twins could possibly face. This novel will take you through a twisting journey of these two conjoined, extraordinary characters.
I just couldn't get into this book at all. Shame because I normally love her books.
I read The Girls by Lori Lansens a couple of months ago but, now that I can comment on it, I feel compelled to contribute to its publicity! The book presents the fictional autobiography of the world’s “oldest surviving craniopagus twins.” Rose and Ruby Darlen, born in the blacked-out aftermath of a tornado, are joined at the head; they share a common blood supply and can never be separated. Abandoned by their birth mother, they get adopted by a delighted nurse, Lovey Darlen and her husband Stash. As the twins' thirtieth birthday approaches, the bookish Rose decides to fulfill a fifteen-year-old promise and write her life story. She invites her “somewhat lazy” sister Ruby to write a few chapters as well, though they agree not to read each others’ work. The result is a captivating, tender story of identity, attachment, and love....plus, it comes from Canada!
This is one of those books I cannot say enough about. Refreshingly different and honest and true feeling. What would life be like as one of the girls? This book is full of the different kinds of love in the world, and they all ring true. I ordered Lori Lansens other two books one chapter in. Read it, read it!
One of the most outstanding books I've read. Memorable is not a strong enough word.
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