I was hooked completely after reading the first paragraph of Lori Lansen's book, The Girls:
"I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood 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 a 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 lived so exponentially."
The Girls was recommended to me by a friend. All I knew was that it was a story of twenty-nine year old conjoined twin women. I bought the book, but I was reading something else, and I like to read only one book at a time. I "snuck a peak" at the first page, and wanted to fling the book I WAS reading out the window, and read The Girls cover to cover!
This is the bittersweet story of the amazing relationship of twin sisters joined at the head. As I quickly finished my bookclub's mystery so I could get back to The Girls, I kept trying to imagine all the physical limitations this would create. How would their individual personalities and be effected by this genetic rarity? I found that the physical issues, while fascinating to imagine, were NOT what was so compelling about the story.
Ruby and Rose's relationship was unique and as close as any two individuals could physically or emotionally be. Their childhood was at times, heartbreaking. They were raised in a very special family and encouraged to pursue their different interests, use each other's strengths, and always to love each other. They grew up to be remarkable young women.
I laughed, I cried, I read parts aloud to Brad, and I was mesmerized by the amazing writing. I had to keep reminding myself that this was fiction, and NOT a memoir, yet the story was so believable, and so wonderful, you just FELT that it was based on real people. The balance of Rose and Ruby's "togetherness" and "individuality" was very well-done. Family members "Aunt Lovey" and "Uncle Stash" were also brought to life in their tiny farm community and on their stressful trip to Slovakia. The Girls was truly a novel about love, courage, incredible patience, acceptance and being "different". It is a book I will not forget.