Summary and book reviews of The Girls by Lori Lansens

The Girls

By Lori Lansens

The Girls
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • Hardcover: May 2006,
    352 pages.
    Paperback: Apr 2007,
    368 pages.

    Publication Information

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Book Summary

Meet Rose and Ruby: sisters, best friends, confidantes, and conjoined twins. Since their birth, Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known simply as "the girls." They make friends, fall in love, have jobs, love their parents, and follow their dreams. But the Darlens are special. Now nearing their 30th birthday, they are history's oldest craniopagus twins, joined at the head by a spot the size of a bread plate.

When Rose, the bookish sister, sets out to write her autobiography, it inevitably becomes the story of her short but extraordinary life with Ruby, the beautiful one. From their awkward first steps--Ruby's arm curled around Rose's neck, her foreshortened legs wrapped around Rose's hips-- to the friendships they gradually build for themselves in the small town of Leaford, this is the profoundly affecting chronicle of an incomparable life journey.

As Rose and Ruby's story builds to an unforgettable conclusion, Lansens aims at the heart of human experience--the hardship of loss and struggles for independence, and the fundamental joy of simply living a life. This is a breath taking novel, one that no reader will soon forget, a heartrending story of love between sisters.

Ruby & Me

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.

My sister, Ruby, and I, by mishap or miracle, having intended to divide from a single fertilized egg, remained joined instead, by a spot the size of a bread plate on the sides of our twin heads. We're known to the world medical community as the oldest surviving craniopagus twins (we are twenty-nine years old) and to millions around the globe, those whose interest in people like us is more than just ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
  1. The Girls is written as a fictional autobiography. Why do you think the author chose this format? Did you ever have to remind yourself while reading that The Girls is a novel rather than a memoir?
  2. Rose and Ruby have spent every moment of their lives bound to each other, and yet they have forged two very distinct personalities and ways of looking at the world. What does this novel say about identity? How does each sister manifest individuality? In what ways do they borrow from each other?
  3. The girls are accustomed to being stared at. But when they travel with Aunt Lovey and Uncle Stash to Slovakia, they find themselves in a situation where for the first time in their lives not one person stares. Why does Rose ...
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Reviews

BookBrowse

If you've enjoyed books such as The Time Traveler's Wife, you are likely to find that Lansen's blend of tragic-comedy will draw you in and leave you well satisfied.   (Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).

Full Review Members Only (494 words).

Media Reviews
Time Magazine

Extraordinary…a masterful and sophisticated duet…a multidimensional vision of the sisters' lives.

Isabel Allende

Lori Lansens's blend of tragedy and comedy will touch you deeply.

Publisher's Weekly

Lansens captures a contradictory longing for independence and togetherness that transcends the book's enormous conceit.

Booklist - Kristine Huntley

Her biggest achievement in the novel is bringing to life these two truly extraordinary characters to such a degree that readers may forget they are reading fiction.

Library Journal

This novel...speaks volumes about solitude, loneliness, and enormous personal courage.

Kirkus Reviews

An unsentimental, heartwarming page-turner. Quite an achievement.

NOW magazine

The Girls, the year's best book to come out of Canada, possibly the world.

Toronto Star

Not just a sophisticated literary accomplishment but a darned good read.

Reader Reviews
River

OMG
Omg I wanted to cry, laugh, and just smile at the same time. If I did my face would have cracked in half.

Marilyn

a good read
I enjoyed reading this book. It was sad at times, going off in unnecessary directions with too many details at times and stereotyped when discussing the trip to Slovakia. But I kept reading. The writer was able to create a realistic description ...   Read More

Elina

a little miffed
While I did enjoy this book, and would recommend it to others, I was a little miffed at the way the author portrayed the people in Slovakia. Being from a neighboring eastern European country myself, I have visited a few of the countries (not ...   Read More

Stacey

The girls
I have just finished reading this book and i can honestly say that it bought a few tears to my eyes. From start to finish i found it hard to put down. I forgot at times that these two girls were conjoined. Its an amazing book about the reality of ...   Read More

Write your own review!

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Beyond the Book

Conjoined twins occur in about 40,000 births but only about once in every 200,000 live births. Craniopagus-twins occur in only about one in every 10 million live births.

Did you know?
Medical advances have led to the discovery of another type of twin, known as tetragametic chimeras, where the embryos of two ...

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Readalikes

Readalikes Full readalike results are for members only

If you liked The Girls, try these:

  • In Her Shoes jacket

    In Her Shoes

    by Jennifer Weiner

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    Follows three expertly realized and finely nuanced characters on an alternately hilarious and heartrending journey in search of contentment, connection--and each other.

  • Middlesex jacket

    Middlesex

    by Jeffrey Eugenides

    Published Feb 2013

    More about this book

    Read Reviews

    To understand why Calliope is not like other girls, she has to uncover a guilty family secret, and the astonishing genetic history that turns Callie into Cal. Lyrical and thrilling, Middlesex is an exhilarating reinvention of the American epic.

Non-members are limited to two results. Become a member


Search Readalikes again
How we choose readalikes
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!
Member Benefits

Join Now!

Check the advantages!
Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year

    •  
    • FREE
    • MEMBER
    • Range of media reviews for each book
    • Excerpts of all featured books
    • Author bios, interviews and pronunciations
    • Browse by genre
    • Book club discussions
    • Book club advice and reading guides
    • BookBrowse reviews and "beyond the book" back-stories
    •  
    • Reviews of notable books ahead of publication
    •  
    • Free books to read and review (US Only)
    •  
    • Browse for the best books by time period, setting & theme
    •  
    • Read-alike suggestions for thousands of books and authors
    •  
    • 'My Reading List" to keep track of your books
    •  
Sign up, win books!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket
    Mrs. Hemingway
    by Naomi Wood
    Naomi Wood's latest novel, Mrs. Hemingway, is a fictionalized biography covering in turn writer...
  • Book Jacket
    The Stranger on the Train
    by Abbie Taylor
    The opening chapter of Abbie Taylor's debut novel, The Stranger on the Train, took me right back to ...
  • Book Jacket
    Night Film
    by Marisha Pessl
    One of the central tenets of Hinduism states that the world as we know it is just an illusion –...

First Impressions

Members read and review books ahead
of publication. See what they think
in First Impressions!

Books that
expand your
horizons.

Visitors can view a lot of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only

Find out more.

Book Discussions
Book Jacket

Tomlinson Hill
by Chris Tomlinson

Published Jul. 2014

Join the discussion!

  1.  162The City:
    Dean Koontz

All Discussions

Win this book!
Win The Angel of Losses

The Angel of Losses

"Family saga, mystery, and myth intersect in Feldman's debut novel." - Booklist

Enter

Word Play

Solve this clue:

E C H A Silver L

and be entered to win..

Books thatinspire you.Handpicked.

Books you'll stay up all night reading; books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, books that will expand your mind and inspire you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.