S4L Book Club – The Girls

S4L Book Club - The Girls: A Novel, by Lori LansensFrom The Readers’ Guide to The Girls: “Do you find yourself forgetting that Rose and Ruby were joined at the head? In what way is the bond of sisterhood more important than their physical link?”

Yes, I frequently forgot! Even though in my mind’s eye I always saw them as conjoined, and I could picture them easily, I had to remind myself that they were linked. I’ve found myself doing that in my every day life with other highly visible traits, as well. There are times that race and gender completely escape me. For instance, I can sometimes quote entire passages of what a person has said to me, but for the life of me be unable to remember if it was a man or a woman who said it. I find that quite odd in myself. How can I remember things in so much detail, in full clarity, but forget something as obvious as that?

Do any of you have instances like this?

As far as the second question goes, I can’t really answer that. In my head, their sisterhood is linked with their conjoinment. Period. The two elements (sisterhood/conjoinment) are completely entwined for them, having never experienced one without the other. I’m unable to separate the two, although I see the girls as two individual people.

One thing I do want to comment on is their shared childhood. I think it’s shared experiences that draw people closer together. Jen and I have talked about how friendships formed in childhood and friendships formed in adulthood are two separate types of friendship. I’ve got plenty of friends who I met as an adult, and we’re quite close, but it’s not the same thing as the friends I made way back when. With them I can literally go for years and years without ever seeing them or talking with them, but when we do spend time together, it’s like no time has passed at all as far as our friendship goes. It’s just not the same with more recent friends.

So I think it’s the girls’ shared history that draws them even closer. They are sisters and then some.

Categories: Reading

1 reply »

  1. I think my answer is kind of the opposite of Shelly’s. I never forget they were conjoined. I found their conjoinment was integral to everything they did because it altered pretty much everything they did. It was an issue whether they were riding in the car (ruby getting sick, ruby on cushions to make her a similar height), sleeping in bed at night (Rose covering Ruby’s legs with the blankets), or interacting with people (hating it when they answered simultaneously, and staying out of conversations that didn’t include them).

    In my mind, entwined though they are, I can separate the bond of sisterhood from the conjoinment. Sisters that aren’t conjoined sometimes also anticipate how the other will feel, push or comfort the other, struggle to get their own way, cooperate during difficulties. I think it’s this bond that enables Rose and Ruby to live as normally as they do. The mutual support and the struggles and respect for individual differences allowed each girl to be who and what she wanted to be, regardless of the conjoinment.

    I loved the part where Ruby had to go to summer school for math and Rose resented it. Aunt Lovey’s response that they would both be learning something they needed to learn was both sympathetic and tough. Rose says, “It’s not fair!” and Lovey says something like, “Yep, that’s what you’re going to learn: Life’s not fair.”

    The conjoinment forces them both to attend summer school; the bond of sisterhood enables them to deal with it.