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The Girls

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  18,321 Ratings  ·  2,173 Reviews
In Lansens's second novel, readers come to know Rose and Ruby, 29-year-old conjoined twins. When one of the girls decides to write her autobiography, the distinct personalities of the two emerge to reveal their contradictory longing for independence and their unwavering togetherness.
ebook, 0 pages
Published May 2nd 2006 by Little, Brown and Company (first published January 1st 2005)
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Aug 27, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I have never looked into my sisters eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to the 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, t ...more
Oct 12, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction-read
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Me for

In what has to be the best blend of heartbreaking sadness and unbelievable joy, author Lori Lansens has managed to write a novel about two girls that you will not soon forget -- if ever. After I finished THE GIRLS, I felt many emotions, but the strongest was that I had just read the story of two of my best and dearest friends. And even though I know that this story is fiction, I can't help but think that somewhere, two girls share a life that is a lot like that
Dec 06, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I won't be finishing this, life is too short. A character (and someone on greads) said it best - it doesn't matter if the book is well written, it will sell because it's about conjoined twins. Yep.
This story is unique in its premise - a back and forth of two conjoined twins who have learned that they are dying - but the execution was a real disappointment. The actual complicated layers of such a situation (never being alone, never being able to fully choose for you, never being perceived as your
Apr 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people
Recommended to Tortla by: John Green via his weird obsession with conjoined-twin-books
The cover reminded me vaguely of the cover of The God of Small Things (they're both pretty/artsy flowers-on-the-water things) but there's really very little that's similar about the two books, except that they're good. And they have twins in them.

The Girls is amazing. The edition I bought has a little reader's guide questions-section at the end, which I started to read because I kind of didn't want the book to end (seriously, it was really good) and one of the questions was something to the eff
Dec 25, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jennifer by: Erica Hernandez (her review )
Shelves: my_favorites
I love when I finish a book and it stays with me for days afterward as I continue to wonder about the characters and what may still be happening even though the story in the book has ended. This is going to be one of those books. I can't think of one negative thing to say about any aspect of this book. I loved the characters, ALL of them. I loved that the author told the story as if Rose and Ruby were writing an autobiography (I had to remind myself it was fiction numerous times).Simply an amazi ...more
May 09, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written story of two sisters who are conjoined. They live in a small town, where everyone knows them as "The Girls". As with any other sisters, they are very different people but unlike every other set of sisters, they are often viewed as "one".

The author has done an amazing job of creating two completely seperate voices and manages to weave a haunting story based on two characters' perspectives who are literally at the same place, at the same time--always.

Rose, Ruby and their fami
Jun 17, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2008, fiction
One of the least engaging books I have read in a very long time. I found the main characters of Rosie and Ruby to be exceptionally boring and slightly annoying. It literally felt as though I was reading someone's mundane diary, dreary boring details that may make up a good diary for the writer however do nothing for an outside reader.
May 06, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I admit I was attracted to this book because it was about conjoined twins. But, the fascination quickly wore off and I was left wondering when the characters were going to come to life and become compelling beyond their conjoinment. The story never came to life for me.
What a moving book. Completely worthwhile, with characters you really love (Uncle Stash and Aunt Lovey) and wisdom and humor. Surprising and unlike anything I've read before. (And there's even a little Eastern European section that I didn't expect--hooray.)

What is it about sadness that can be so fulfilling? (p.30)

Funny how you can measure time by pets that were not even your own. (p. 40)

It was Aunt Lovey's belief that all ordinary people led extraordinary lives, but just didn't notice. (p. 102)

Mar 10, 2009 added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Elizabeth by: Mary McTernan
Shelves: chocolate-club
I read this concurrently with Jane Hamilton's A Map of the World and, although they are completely different books, found the settings so powerfully similar that I kept getting the books confused. The same kids detassling corn in the summer holidays, the same orange-red carpet in the same early 19th century decrepit farmhouse, the same neighbors with tragically dead kids--it wasn't a bad thing, it was just *weird*, as though I were reading two different news stories from the same local newspaper ...more
Marianne Perry
I finished this astounding book a week ago and wanted to comment as to how the characters and their story have lingered. The Girls is about Rose and Ruby; twenty-nine year old craniopagus twins. Fused at the skulls with their heads facing slightly different directions, they have separate bodies. The novel chronicles their attempt to forge ordinary lives despite extraordinary circumstances. Lori Lansens excels at personifying their different personalities and their individual and collective react ...more
Sarah B.
Jul 18, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone starved for Canlit!
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Greta is Erikasbuddy
I never expected to like this book as much as I did. I thought that I'd probably get frustrated and maybe stop at 100 pages in.

MAN!! Was I wrong!!

This book was fantastic!! Read like gossip and as though it was true.

"The Girls" is written as an autobiography but it's totally fiction. A story of conjoined twins who try to live their lives in the most ordinary way as possible.

Can you imagine being attached to your sister when she gets in trouble?
When you're mad at her?
When you are trying to plan a
May 16, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an intriguing look at what life would be like for two people with distinct personalities living inseparable lives.

My favorite quote from the book is regarding Aunt Lovey. “It was Aunt Lovey’s belief that all ordinary people led extraordinary lives, but just didn’t notice.” Think of how profound that is! I think applies particularly well to the story of these girls. Although they had a very unusual medical condition (joined at the head from birth), Ruby and Rose led ordinary lives. They
Elizabeth Fagin
Sep 13, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I found this book while browsing through my public libraries download section. I was looking for a book to try out on my new Nook (LOVE my Nook). I didn't really need a book i wanted to read - it was just a learning exercise. But this one look somewhat interesting so I gave it a try. I can only say WOW! I love love love this book. I still have about 10 pages left to read - and I am taking it really slow because I do not want it to end.

All of the characters are terrifically drawn. Lansens' descr
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was a bit slow to get into this book, but once Ruby's contributions began I was hooked! I LOVED the side-by-side descriptions from each sister about the events of their life (their often contradicting accounts were quite hilarious too). This story is one of Love, Family, and overcoming adversity and I enjoyed it so much that I can confidently say this is one of my favourite books of my life thus far! I thoroughly enjoyed Lori Lansens book "A Mountain Story" as well. Her characters are very rel ...more
Mar 07, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rose and Ruby are twin sisters. Craniopagus sisters. This is Rose's autobiography and Ruby's by default. It is the story of their incredible lives that are so simply lived. It is the story of their aunt and uncle (again by default) that raised them, and loved them, and loved each other.
I truly enjoyed the simplicity of their stories that showed compassion, compromise, longing, hope and forgiveness.
This book. I love love loved it. It will stay with me for a long time. Such fabulous and memorable characters. Highly recommend.
Though I hesitate to say that the content of The Girls will stay with me for years to come, the premise surely will, and that's definitely saying something. A novel about conjoined twins in Northern Ontario, writing a joint memoir—a written account of their lives, alternating voices and periods in time—knowing that their death is imminent? There's certainly a hook there.

While there are revelations along the way, both big and small, the novel has a calm composure to it. Where most books have plo
Jun 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: can-con, 2015
We've been called many things: freaks, horrors, monsters, devils, witches, retards, wonders, marvels. To most, we're a curiosity. In small-town Leaford, where we live and work, we're just “The Girls”.

Rose and Ruby Darlen are 29, and the world's oldest surviving craniopagus (conjoined at the head) twins. When an aneurysm in Rose's brain provides the sisters with a deadline, Rose decides to finally write her autobiography, and although Ruby has never been interested in writing, she is cajoled in
Jun 14, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was hesitant about reading this because it was something that a friend had recommended to me and not something that I would have chosen myself. I was also not certain of exactly what it was initially: i.e. whether it was a true story? there was no clue of plot etc. I have to say that I found this book extremely muddled in structure as it just seemed to consist of anecdotes from each twin's life and so there was no overall plot and fatally no sense of direction. Therefore it was difficult to co ...more
Oct 06, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: "Middlesex" fans; book clubs
Recommended to K by: TABBIEs book club
Who would have thought of writing a novel about Siamese twins?

Lori Lansens takes the unlikely premise of twin girls joined at the head and manages to create a well-written novel so believable that I never once questioned its verisimilitude (which is saying a lot for a detail-oriented cynic like me). Rose and Ruby are the world's oldest living craniopagus twins, joined at the skull. Their lives are inevitably intertwined -- they can't even go to the bathroom alone -- and yet, they are fiercely se
(Still have no idea in which language to review originally-in-English books that I read in French. Sorry English friends.)

C'était bon! Honnêtement, j'étais pas sûre de vouloir le lire (je l'ai acheté sans trop regarder, dans une méga-vente de bibliothèque, où j'ai juste pris le temps de spotter "Tiens, un livre d'alto" avant d'acheter - ce qui explique aussi la traduction!) parce que j'ai zéro intérêt pour les livres du style "regardez la bête de cirque". Mais justement, on était loin de "La Mag
Jun 20, 2007 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fiction. The tale of two sisters, siamese twins, joined at the head. Presented as a first person narrative, Rose and Ruby Darlen take turns writing their autobiography. The book is mostly written by Rose, who fancies herself a writer and takes it all very seriously, determined to tell her life story in chronological order. Ruby, on the other hand, doesn't see the point of an autobiography at all -- because technically it isn't an autobiography if there's two of you -- but she doesn't want her op ...more
Ruby and Rose are identical twin girls born conjoined at the head. Their birth mother flees from them after they are born, and they are taken in by the attending nurse, Lovey and her husband, Stash, a native Slovak. The girls grow up in a small Canadian border town, and as they learn that they are dying, they decide to write their autobiography. The story spans their growing up and their life together, as well as Lovey and Stash's lives together.

I really, really enjoyed this book, it was probab
Mark Victor Young
Sep 02, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A brilliant portrait of two conjoined twins penning "their" autobiography, with two such distinct yet tentative voices. The story of Rose and Ruby and their life with adoptive parents Stash and Lovey Darlen is a tale of ordinary small town life but also of this extraordinary pair of people who share a connection bordering on the mystical. Joined at the head, they share a critical vein common to both their brains which connects them in every way.

Maybe their ability to read each other's mind and
Michelle Feist
Dec 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I had heard interesting things about this book, and it's author, through the yearly "book talk" that local bookstore owner Laurie Greenwood gave at our yearly Teachers' Convention. I had added it to my "to read" list and then forgotten about it, but fortunately I came across it at a garage sale this summer for only $3 so I picked it up. One would think that a story about conjoined twins growing up in southern Ontario would be rather dull or weird or both, but this was a fascinating book! It is t ...more
Erika Nerdypants
I absolutely loved this book. This is the story of Rose and Ruby, conjoined twins who are born to a teenage mom and subsequently adopted in a small, rural Ontario town. This was a random pick at a local Value Village when I needed a fifth book to get one free. I have not read Lansens' other books, but will be on the lookout for them. Rose and Ruby are clear and concise narrators, Rose lingering in the past, filling in missing pieces of the girls lives, while practical Ruby tells us the present a ...more
Katherine Pollard-Pollak
I loved this book. I have a sister who knows me as well as Ruby and Rose know each other, though we aren't conjoined. I have parents who nurtured us to be who we are while also expecting us to represent and maintain our family ethics and values. This book, to me, was not about conjoined girls, but about how to be a family, no matter the circumstances. How to be part of a community, no matter the circumstances. How to be empathetic and understanding of other's, no matter the circumstances. In thi ...more
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Around the Year i...: The Girls, by Lori Lansens 1 13 Mar 21, 2016 08:38PM  
the girls 21 56 Feb 21, 2015 05:38PM  
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Lori Lansens was born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, a small Canadian town with a remarkable history as a terminus on the Underground Railroad, which became the setting for her first three bestselling novels. After living in downtown Toronto most of her adult life, she moved with her family to the Santa Monica mountains near Los Angeles in 2006. There she shares her backyard with bobcats, rattle ...more
More about Lori Lansens...
“Write,' she said, 'as if you'll never be read. That way you'll be sure to tell the truth.” 71 likes
“I feel, holding books, accommodating their weight and breathing their dust, an abiding love. I trust them, in a way that I can't trust my computer, though I couldn't do without it. Books are matter. My books matter. What would I have done through these years without the library and all its lovely books?” 38 likes
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