Thursday, May 5, 2011

Book Club Review - The Girls by Lori Lansens

Okay at long last the book club review of above novel.  Apologies for taking so long, but that 10 day gardening holiday has caused a lot of things to fall behind, and if I do catch up any time soon it will be a minor miracle.

But before I get into the reviews, just to say, only half of us managed to read the book, so perhaps something will be lost in the overall scheme of things.  The subject matter of this fictional story being that of twins joined at the head, seemed to cause much reluctance about reading it, and hence a couple of people steered clear.  Others got caught up in life, as is often the case, but those that did read it, managed to cause great entertainment for those that didn't, as the views were quite diverse as you will see below.

I was irritated slightly by the voice at the start - Rose's obsession with what qualifies as writerly or not etc Also felt the book was trying hard to do more than just be about the girls in their identity as craniophagus twins, ie with all the European references re their adoptive parents... felt this was all very interesting, but not really part of their story for me, but that maybe the writer didn't have enough depth in her own primary characters that she had to flesh out their adoptive parent's story so much.  Having said that where it's relevant - the interactions with adoptive parents is well done.
I hated the thing about the pregnant teen writing loads of poems, just because pregnancy did the opposite for me, but maybe it always just makes a person do weird things.

A beautiful story where the extraordinary is made ordinary. I loved this book, a story about Rose and Ruby, conjoined twins, sisters who are joined at the head. It sounds a bit outlandish, a little voyeuristic and potentially icky - but it is in fact a simple tale. Written as if it is an autobiography, the girls are close to their thirtieth birthday. Rose, the principle protagonist is a writer. She is keen to record her life story. Ruby is less interested, but reluctantly contributes chapters. Gradually it becomes clear why Rose is so keen to put their life down on paper. I loved the small town, the adoptive parents with their own 'outsider' life stories, the storm on the night the twins were born, the attempt by the twins to lead an ordinary life, one which they would have taken for granted if nature hadn't taken them down a more difficult path. An unforgettable read.

I was initially apprehensive about this choice of book, but soon realised that more than anything, it was a story of love and sometimes rivalry and sometimes misunderstandings between two sisters.  There was a lot in the novel that I could have skipped over prose wise, and I also thought that in this case, jumping backwards and forwards in time, and from two different points of view caused the writer logistical problems, as there were a number of errors within it.  Overall though I was glad I read this book, as once I got into it, I enjoyed the narrative voice, and I did feel that sense you get from a good read, that you have somehow entered another world, and one that was worth being part of.  So for me, The Girls got the thumbs up!

Without the ploy of the girls physical condition, this is just a story about two sisters - and not a very good one at that. Readers can expect to twitch a smile at the humorous parts, skip over the grisly details and fall asleep on and off for the rest of the tedium in between.


  1. Just goes to show how subjective the whole process can be, but agree the diversity is excellent!

  2. Of course, my opinion was the correct one... :o)

  3. Of course D'Oub! But no one knows which one is you!!!

  4. Love the diversity you cover in your review... Sounds like an interesting work.


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