Sunday, July 23, 2006

The Girls - Lori Lansens [July/06]

Another novel that I received from Random House. This is a novel by a Canadian author, I seem to have a thing with reading all the ones I can get my hands on. I didn't actually know she was Canadian until the book arrived, I had just heard of the story and thought it sounded good. One of these days I will read her other novel.

From the back of the book:

Born during a ferocious tornado in 1974, twins Rose and Ruby Darlen were extraordinary from the start. Now approaching thirty and facing a time of change, Rose decides she must write their shared story - of adoption, alienation, love and a heartbreaking search - with Rudy adding her touching two cents' worth and unintentionally revealing long-hidden truths. Through their incredible bond, which is both physical and emotional, the girls show us that connection is the most important human trait of all.

I am glad I read this book. Let me tell you all something, it was very real. When the twins were writing their stories and I was reading them, I felt like I could easily be reading a non-fiction book. Lori Lansens wrote the girls so believably that I felt a real connection with them. It is one of those books that you will not easily forget. I believe what Isabel Allende says on the front of my copy sums it up very well:

"I promise you will never forget these extraordinary story. Love, connection, loyalty, raw humanity and much more are the ingredients of this most unusual novel. Lori Lansen's blend of tragedy and comedy will touch you deeply."

That is so true. This book will never leave you, because it speaks to you on so many levels. Rose and Ruby are conjoined twins, they are connected at the right side of the head. They have a rocky beginning, with their mother delivering them and then disappearing into the stormy night that the girls were born on. They were lucky, though, the nurse that was there for the delivery adopted them, and her and her husband became the girls "aunt" and "uncle". It could have been much worse for them, they were considered freaks, but these loving older folks took on the responsibility of caring for them and raising them as their own.

It is a heart-breaking novel. The girls had happy lifestyles, but the novels is riddled with occassions of ridicule and teasing. The girls have never had what we would call a "normal" lifestyle, but their need to be accepted and loved is something that rings true of women everywhere. It is in essence, Rose's story. She has always loved to write, but because of her sister being joined to her, never went to university. Instead, she learned through patience and love from her aunt. This will be the only novel that they write, as they are nearing old age for conjoined twins of their nature. The oldest living ones prior to them only lived to be 29, so bordering on thirty is a big deal. The twins don't know if they will make it there, but Rose does know that she wants to leave something behind.

The girls have very unique personalities and ways of looking at the world around them. When Ruby interjects her ideas, you can tell that she is totally different from her sister. The novel is an exciting experience that you will not soon forget. It will bring tears to your eyes, but also love to your heart.

If you want to read this book, it is only out in hardcover in the US, but is out in both trade and hard in Canada. You can order it here.



  1. Oh this sounds good. Well, it already sounded good, but you made it sound even better. I'll have to see if my library has it yet!

  2. I hope it is! The problem with Canadian authors is how hard they are to be read in other countries. If they don't have this one, many people have told me her other book is better.


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