I bought The Girls by Lori Lansens a long way back; I found the hardcover super cheap at Borders one day. Well, I finally got around to reading it, and I wish I hadn’t waited so long!
The Girls is written from the perspectives of Rose and Ruby Darlen, two sisters who are incredibly different. Rose loves to write, and to read, and watch sports. Ruby is more practical in a way. She is always sick, and often embarrassed by her sister. Both work at the local library, Rose sorting and shelving books, Ruby reads to the children’s classes. This story of sisters wouldn’t be unusual, except that Rose and Ruby are conjoined at the head. Rose decides to write the story of her life, and realizes that Ruby must play a role in that story as well. They are approaching their 30 birthday, at which time they will become the oldest surviving craniopagus twins. Rose has an authors’ heart, she tells her story in sweeping words and grand events. Ruby, however, is reluctant to write her chapters. She cannot see how anyone would be interested in their story. Ruby becomes the narrator that tells us the details of the girls’ lives, and of the everyday struggle that they must lead. Soon, Ruby realizes that writing is cathartic to her as well.
The story is wonderful just for the way it makes the reader think about how life would be different if you could never be physically separated from another person. You’d never take a trip on your own, you couldn’t even use the bathroom on your own! Others would stare and ask questions. But, you would never be without someone who loved you. Rose and Ruby long for many things in their life, but they both agree that they would never wish to be separated, and even though joined, they are their own women.