Title: The Girls
Author: Lori Lansens
"I have never looked into my sister’s eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon. I’ve never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I’ve never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or solo walk. I’ve never climbed a tree. Or faded into a crowd. 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." With such an evocative beginning, the novel sweeps you into the extraordinary world of Ruby and Rose Darlens, the oldest living craniopagus twins in the world. Ruby and Rose are twenty-nine-years old, joined at the head by a spot the size of a bread plate. Rose says "I have carried my sister like an infant, since I was a baby myself. Ruby's tiny thighs astride my hip, my arm supporting her posterior, her arm forever around my neck". Rose and Ruby share a common blood supply, over a hundred veins and a skull bone making them inseparable after birth. Abandoned by their teenage mother soon after birth, the twins (simply called 'The Girls') are raised lovingly by Aunt Lovey and her husband Uncle Stash in a small town Leaford. Though physically restrained, the Girls have distinct personalities and pursue different interests. Rose is bookish and an ardent baseball fan. Ruby, the pretty one, has a passion for Indian artifacts. Rose and Ruby have never seen each other, except in a mirror, yet their lives are intertwined beyond imagination. Rose observes that life is not fair especially for a girl who is joined at the head. Yet one would marvel at what she has to say about it. "There is some alienation, of course, in being so different, but it’s also been fascinating, and a unique opportunity, I think, to have observed our generation without fully participating in it". As you read through the autobiography of the girls encompassing the major events that shaped their lives, you begin to love and appreciate the emotional bond and dependency between the twins. Ruby quotes "Before she closed her eyes tonight, Rose said she regretted that she has not done something heroic in her life. Well, it’s not like she can suddenly climb a tree and save a cat, or go to medical school and begin some important cancer research. But Rose has been my sister. I think that’s heroic". The author brings in so much life to the characters in her book that one begins to wonder if this truly is a work of fiction. Ruby says "I can't imagine how even the most brilliant author could describe to a stranger what it's like to take your life's journey with your sister attached to your head." But, I think Lansens has done that exceptionally well.
My Rating: 4.5/5
Friday, June 8, 2007
2007 Orange Prize for Fiction Winner: Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.
2007 Orange Award for New Writers Winner: The Lizard Cage by Karen Connelly.
Book Meme Pg161
Lovely Lotus tagged me for a Book Meme. Thanks Lotus! Here are the rules: Grab the book that is nearest to you (no cheating), turn to page 161, post the text of the fifth full sentence on the page, post the rules and tag three people.
I just finished reading "A Thousand Splendid Suns" by Khaled Hosseini and that's what I grabbed for this Meme.
"She couldn't get around the unfathomable reality that Giti wasn't alive anymore".
Khaled has written a profoundly moving story and I loved reading this book. Review coming up soon!