Book Review: The Girls by Lori Lansens

The Girls
by Lori Lansens

Publication date: 2006
Publisher: Virago
Pages: 345


Meet Rose and Ruby: sisters, best friends, confidantes, and conjoined twins. Since their birth, Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as “the girls.” They make friends, fall in love, have jobs, love their parents, and follow their dreams. But the Darlens are special. Now nearing their 30th birthday, they are history’s oldest craniopagus twins, joined at the head by a spot the size of a bread plate.

When Rose, the bookish sister, sets out to write her autobiography, it inevitably becomes the story of her short but extraordinary life with Ruby, the beautiful one. From their awkward first steps–Ruby’s arm curled around Rose’s neck, her foreshortened legs wrapped around Rose’s hips– to the friendships they gradually build for themselves in the small town of Leaford, this is the profoundly affecting chronicle of an incomparable life journey.

As Rose and Ruby’s story builds to an unforgettable conclusion, Lansens aims at the heart of human experience–the hardship of loss and struggles for independence, and the fundamental joy of simply living a life. This is a breath taking novel, one that no reader will soon forget, a heartrending story of love between sisters.

Source: Goodreads


The first of many holiday reads over the next couple of weeks and I have to say I loved Lori Lansens‘ “The Girls”.

“Who would not stare, what kind of people would not even look, at conjoined twins?”

Speeding through the pages, I became engrossed in the story of Rose and Ruby, the oldest living craniopagus twins. Conjoined at the head, the book is written in the style of an autobiography from the view point of both girls, detailing their lives and the lives of those around them. An extremely convincing memoir, I honestly felt like I was reading non-fiction and a little disappointed that in reality these remarkable girls were just a figment of the author’s imagination.

“We are dying. So are you. Some of you may even know it.”

Full of quotes I loved and intense detail, this book is a little quirky. It delves into romance, tragedy, history and humour while painting a picture of family life in the countryside in Canada. For once I liked all the characters and how their stories pieced together. I liked the contradictory view points from both girls. I liked exploring universal truths, beauty and trust. If there was anything to dislike, I didn’t spot it!

“[I] acknowledge that my book is what it is, rare and imperfect.”

Overall rating: A story of family, love and overcoming adversity. “The Girls” is written in the style of such a convincing memoir that I felt it was real and in some way, I wanted it to be real. I’m giving Lori Lansens’ heartwarming story 5 stars.

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