Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Book Review: The Girls

Author: Lori Lansens

Pages: 343

Genre: Fiction

Personal Rating: 4/5

From the back cover:

Rarely has the experience of being a sister been so poignantly and memorably captured as in Lori Lansens's triumphant novel. The Girls celebrates life's fundamental joys and trials as it presents Rose and Ruby, sisters destined to live inseparably but blessed with distinct sensibilities that enrich and complicate their shared experiences-of growing up, of finding their way in the world, of saying good-bye. Readers who encounter the girls will find it hard to resist falling under their spell.

Is it strange to describe a novel as enchanting?

The Girls is the stories of Rose and Ruby, known to the medical world as the oldest surviving craniopagus twins. They divided from a single fertilized egg but remained joined by a spot the size of a bread plate on the sides of their heads. I expected the story to be somewhat of a “sideshow” or “freak-show” that spent a lot of time recalling how the girls had to make their way through life dealing with all types of difficulties as a result of being joined at the heads. I expected it to describe how they lived as conjoined twins. Instead of being an experiential journey it’s more of an emotional and memory journey. Rose is writing her autobiography and having Ruby contribute chapters. I loved the very fist paragraph.

I have never looked into my sister’s eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I’ve never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. Never a private talk. Or solo walk. I’ve never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. So many things I’ve never done, but oh, how I’ve been loved. And, if such things were to be, I’d live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially.

This book is filled with beautiful emotionally stunning writing. Since emotions are so important the character development is wonderful. Aunt Lovely and Uncle Stash seem to be the most perfect people even with all their imperfections. Even the “not nice” characters are developed well to be so unliked. Not a lot happens during the book. The girls are writing a book. It’s all about their recall and how their memories have been shaped and changed over time (sometimes into what they WANT them to be). Rose and Ruby write they chapters in different fonts. I thought that was pretty unique.

This is not a book to rush through, but one to linger through enjoying the emotions you feel from it.


Alix said...

I keep seeing this book on lists and your review has made me want to read it. I loved the paragraph you included.

Vicious Trollop said...

I'm sold! :)

Will be getting this book ASAP.

I have a complicated relationship with my sister (meaning we fight like cats and dogs but can't live w/o each other) and have a love/hate relationship with "sister books" but I'm still drawn to them like bees to honey *G*

Anonymous said...

I read this last year and loved it. You wouldn't expect to by reading the cover, but I thought it was beautiful.

Jeane said...

You make this sound like such a beautiful book, I am putting it on my TBR right now. (I have three sisters, myself).

Fancy said...

I read this book a little over a year ago and absolutely loved it. It was one of those books that made me sigh at the end and think, "This is why I read, because there are books like this out there."

I'm just now joining the book bloggers community and am so glad to be seeing it being read and loved!

- Toryssa

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