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The Girls    by Lori Lansens order for
by Lori Lansens
Order:  USA  Can
Little, Brown & Co., 2006 (2006)
Hardcover, CD
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Daninhirsch

One of my all time favorite books is Rush Home Road, so I was thrilled to learn that Lori Lansens had released a new novel. She does not disappoint the second time around.

Rose and Ruby are conjoined twins, attached at the head, connected by a vital vein running through their skulls. They are the oldest surviving craniopagus twins in history. Fearing the end is near, Rose sets out to write her memoirs, with Ruby contributing some chapters.

Born in the midst of a tornado to a young, frightened single mother, the twins were adopted by a nurse and her husband - Aunt Lovey and Uncle Stash - who raised the girls as their own. Rose and Ruby grew to be independent, taking jobs at the library, and learning to get around on their own.

Lansens is a master storyteller, opening with the lines that are the crux of the whole story, 'I have never looked into my sister's eyes.' And she ends the paragraph: '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.' Throughout the remainder of the book, Lansens has a way of subtly slipping information into a sentence that will awaken your consciousness, as if she's testing you to see if you're paying attention. 

I almost forgot that these characters are fictional as Lansens breathes so much life into them. Both girls take turns writing portions of their life story, using two very different voices and writing styles, which further documents Lansen's own writing skills. The Girls is really a testimonial to sister love, and reminds us that life is precious, and that being grateful for the gift of life is the best gift we can give ourselves.

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