Friday, January 26, 2007

The Girls, by Lori Lansens

Rose and Ruby are twins, but not the normal sort. They are conjoined at the head. And if you've ever wondered what that is like, this novel explores what it is like to have your sister always with you. The book traces three decades of sisterhood, covering the highlights of the girls' lives (family, loves, losses, etc.). It is not so much that anything specific happens in this novel, but more that it is a realistic story of a type of life that is hard for any of us to imagine. And more than being a story about them, it is also about the people they live with and growing up in a Slovak household in southern Ontario.

At 345 dense pages, this is a very long read. It is not a bad read (except maybe towards the end where it just starts to drag and drag), but given it's essentially lacking a plot, it can grow a bad hard to plow through. That said, I found the subject matter so totally interesting that I have to give it a recommendation. There are so many things about being a conjoined twin that never would have occurred to me and that this novel addresses. And a book that opens a new world is always a valuable literary contribution.

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