The Girls Paperback – May 9 2006
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In 29 years, Rose Darlen has never spent a moment apart from her twin sister, Ruby. She has never gone for a solitary walk or had a private conversation. Yet, in all that time, she has never once looked into Ruby's eyes. Joined at the head, "The Girls" (as they are known in their small Ontario town) are the world's oldest surviving craniopagus twins. In her astonishing second novel, Lori Lansens (author of Rush Home Road) ventures into the strange world of physical abnormality that Barbara Gowdy so chillingly explored in We So Seldom Look on Love. While some writers might be tempted to play up the grotesque aspects of life as a conjoined twin, Lansens treats her so-called freaks with sensitivity and respect. The result is an extraordinarily moving narrative about human connectedness that questions the very meaning of "normal."
The Girls is a fictional autobiography of the Darlen twins, mostly told by Rose but with occasional chapters by Ruby. The stronger and more frustrated of the two, Rose longs to become a published writer but tends to conceal or distort disturbing incidents from their shared past. Ruby, by contrast, tells it like it is, but is much more accepting of their intertwined fate. (Ruby is also the prettier twin, and one of the most poignant and shocking scenes in the novel is Rose's account of her--or rather their--first sexual experience.) As Rose and Ruby describe their relatively sheltered childhood, rocky adolescence, and tentative experiments with love, the interplay between these two distinct voices heightens the dramatic tension of what's to come. The saddest part is saying good-bye--to "The Girls" and to this compassionately written novel. --Lisa Alward --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Some books translate so smoothly to audio that they seem meant to be read aloud, and this fictional autobiography of 29-year-old conjoined twins Rose and Ruby Darlen is one such tale. Though joined at the head, "The Girls" have separate bodies and distinct personalities, which come to life through Zimbalist's and Davidovich's narration. Zimbalist takes on the husky voice of Rose, a writer who's intent on penning her life story—in other words, this audio. She has coerced Ruby, voiced to bubbly perfection by Davidovich, into contributing her own chapters, and the combination of their interwoven first-person narratives makes for an illuminating portrait of two extraordinary women, their unshakeable bond and the people who have guided them along the way. Zimbalist does a fine job voicing not only Rose but the girls' uncle Stash, with his heavy Slovakian accent, their levelheaded aunt Lovey and their crotchety Italian neighbor, among others. Further complementing the narration is occasional music, adjusted to match the mood and tempo of the story. This is a masterful production of an unusual and inspiring story.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
Both of these readers are acclaimed actresses and assets to any narrative. Stephanie Zimbalist comes from a family of actors and has a lengthy as well as prestigious roster of acting credits. TV fans well remember her for her six year tenure as Laura Holt in Remington Steele. Now let's move on to her stage credits where we find her in The Cherry Orchard with Alfred Molina and the national tour of One and Only with Tommy Tune. Versatile? You Bet!
Lola Davidovich is familiar to many for her numerous cinema roles, including Gods and Monsters with Ian McKellen and Lynn Redgrave. She has an unforgettable voice, by turns rich and challenging.
Our story opens with Rose speaking: "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. "
One can scarcely imagine what it would be like to be a twin, let alone a conjoined twin. Yet, Lori Lansens has crafted an amazing story of great personal courage, love, and a yearning for independence. In this tale Rosie and Ruby are the world's oldest conjoined twins with remarkable lives to share.
Listen and be moved by their extraordinary experiences.
- Gail Cooke
The Girls is a diary told in two voices--Rose's and Ruby's. Rose encourages her sister to contribute to what will become their life story and although she does most of the writing, both characters come to life as they observe the lives of everyone they meet, sharing their innermost thoughts, hopes, fears and dreams with the reader. I found myself so connected to Rose and Ruby that I didn't want their story to end, and when it did, I was left with a bittersweet ache for more.
The first paragraph reads like pure, sweet poetry that is sure to haunt any reader; it is what first grabbed me and pulled at my heart. The Girls opens like this:
"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...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.Read more ›
Conjoined at the head, Rose and Ruby have a symbiotic relationship. Yet, for all their symbiosis, they are two very different and unique individuals. When Rose, who has a penchant for writing, decides to write her memoir, Ruby decides to add her two cents and write some chapters herself. This book is the story of their lives.
Written as two parallel stories, the author makes the voice of each twin distinct. Each of their narratives is redolent of the personality and world view of the twin writing the chapter. This is difficult to do, and the author succeeds brilliantly. This is certainly a book that will keep the reader turning the pages, At times heartbreakingly poignant, the book is infused with humor and wit, as well as a strong reminder that life is what one makes of it. Bravo!
The two women (Rose and Ruby) rarely stray into the 'inspirational cripple' model that's found so often in media images of disabled people. Instead, they come across as human - with faults, flaws and even farts!
More than that, they reveal desires, fears, and hopes that help make them fully-fleshed out characters rather than circus caricatures.
I recommend this book highly and without reservation. It was a pure delight to read.
Most recent customer reviews
Book came earlier than described time - good condition as advertised - few small markings on good # of pages, no worries. Delighted with purchase. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Corunna reader
I chanced upon this book in a list of female authors recommended. It is compelling and yet sad. I wanted to stop reading to prevent myself from getting too invested in these girls'... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mary Sawyer author ;Beyond Me
Wow! I didn't realize that this story was not a true story! I loved it and would definitely recommend it. I couldn't put it down!Published 8 months ago by M. Burke
Great read. Had to buy it as i had borowed it a few years ago and wanted to read it again. It is just that good. I love the canadian content!!!Published 8 months ago by Cathleen Sinclair
This is an exquisite book, so compellingly sad, full of heart, and moving. By far the best of the author's work. Highly recommended!Published 14 months ago by Laurie Gough
Read this book as part of a book club. I didn't keep my attention. Finished it solely out of duty.Published 20 months ago by Kris
The book was used but in great condition. I liked the storyPublished 20 months ago by Janette Bernhart
I was enthralled with this story right from the start. The author must have done a lot of research as it all seems so real and gives a good insight into the lives of con joined... Read morePublished on Jan. 2 2014 by C. A. Williams
Lori Larsens' The Girls is a novel about twin sisters - conjoined twins - who are born and raised by their adoptive "Aunt" and "Uncle" in southwestern Ontario. Read morePublished on Oct. 9 2012 by Kadi Kaljuste