THE GIRLS by Lori Lansens

I've had my eye on The Girls, by Lori Lansens, for a while now. I picked up a used copy at Half Price Books in Seattle a few months ago, and it's sitting atop my enormous TBR pile, but I haven't broken the spine yet. From Amazon:

Conjoined twins Rose and Ruby Darlen are linked at the side of the head, with separate brains and bodies. Born in a small town outside Toronto in the midst of a tornado and abandoned by their unwed teenage mother two weeks later, the girls are cared for by Aunt Lovey, a nurse who refuses to see them as deformed or even disabled. She raises them in Leaford, Ontario, where, at age 29, Rose, the more verbal and bookish twin, begins writing their story—i.e., this novel, which begins, "I have never looked into my sister's eyes." Showing both linguistic skill and a gift for observation, Lansens's Rose evokes country life, including descriptions of corn and crows, and their neighbors Mrs. Merkel, who lost her only son in the tornado, and Frankie Foyle, who takes the twins' virginity. Rose shares her darkest memory (public humiliation during a visit to their Slovakian-born Uncle Stash's hometown) and her deepest regret, while Ruby, the prettier, more practical twin, who writes at her sister's insistence, offers critical details, such as what prompted Rose to write their life story. Through their alternating narratives, Lansens captures a contradictory longing for independence and togetherness that transcends the book's enormous conceit.

Like many others, I suspect, I have always been fascinated by conjoined twins. This book sounds very compelling. Book Addiction says:

Lansens 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.

Suzi Q at Blogging My Books read this book in 2007 and loved it. She said, "The individuality of Rose and Ruby is clear, and the places where they describe the same experiences with different viewpoints stress that. They even manage to keep some secrets from each other. The relationship between the sisters is fascinating and the book is just beautifully written."

I know I say this about all the books on the TBR list, but I really want to read this one soon.


  • October 16, 2008 - 7:44 am | Permalink

    Can’t wait to see what you think of it!

  • October 16, 2008 - 7:56 am | Permalink

    I loved this. Read it! 😉

  • October 16, 2008 - 12:56 pm | Permalink

    My book club read this book earlier this year. While the writing is beautiful and the characters are compelling, the plot was too much of a stretch for me. Plus, the sex scene was just weird. I appreciate that the author tried to keep the story moving with a number of plot developments, but in my opinion, she did too much and it just didn’t work. I’m anxious to hear what you think of it.

  • October 16, 2008 - 4:04 pm | Permalink

    I have this on my TBR shelf also and have heard nothing but good reviews so far. I’ll be interested to see what your thoughts are after you read it.

  • October 16, 2008 - 10:34 pm | Permalink

    Tara and Dr. Blondie – thanks for weighing in. I am definitely looking forward to this one, even with some mixed reviews.
    Bonnie and Kathy – stay tuned!

  • Gwendolyn B.
    October 17, 2008 - 10:19 am | Permalink

    Gayle: Yesterday I received a copy of RUSH HOME ROAD by this same author and started reading it right away — I got completely caught up. But when I realized there was an excerpt at the back for THE GIRLS, I stopped to read that. I was completely caught up again! I’ve moved THE GIRLS to the top of my own TBR list.

  • October 17, 2008 - 9:37 pm | Permalink

    I bought this book about 2 years. I hope to get to read it soon. Please post your thoughts on this book as soon as you finish.

  • Kiki
    October 18, 2008 - 8:51 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I really loved this one. A definite “yes, read it!”!

  • October 27, 2008 - 12:27 pm | Permalink

    I just finished this one and loved it. It’s lovely & painful with no trace of self pity from either girl.

  • Miriam
    October 27, 2008 - 4:30 pm | Permalink

    Gayle, I really liked this book in spite of the strange main characters. The book is totally engaging and I think you will like it. A memorable read.

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