S4L Book Club – The Girls

S4L Book Club - The Girls: A Novel, by Lori LansensHere are some scattered thoughts regarding The Girls.

As a nurse I think I share a trait common to many nurses: avid curiosity regarding curiosities of the human body. When there’s something abnormal going on, I want to see it! From my perspective, it’s not a morbid curiosity; rather, it’s an interest in seeing and learning more than the mere norm. I had heard of the Mutter Museum prior to reading this book, but it was mentioned a few times in The Girls, which brought it more to my conscious state of mind. Just a few weeks ago I chaperoned a trip to the Penn Relays, held annually in Philadelphia, PA. Imagine my surprise to look at the edifice of a building on our morning walk to the stadium, to read a sign proclaiming the building to be The Mutter Museum! Oh, how I wanted to go inside. But we had other priorities that day, namely, our children running in the Penn Relays. So I had to put a museum trip on my list of Future Things to Do.

Tell me, do you think the Mutter Museum, described in Wikipedia as containing “a collection of medical oddities, anatomical and pathological specimens, wax models, and antique medical equipment,” is upsetting and crude? Or do you think it is beneficial to the medical community? What are your thoughts? I recall that one of the girls thought the Mutter Museum book was ghastly, while the other was intrigued.

On another tangent, what do you think of the fact that the girls didn’t use a wheeled device to ambulate until much later in their lives? If I recall correctly, the craniopagus twins who were the subject of a documentary I watched used such a device. I think it must have eased the pressure on the heads of both girls tremendously.

Categories: Reading

2 replies »

  1. Next time I’m East, I’d love to go to the Mutter Museum with you. Let’s remember this, okay?

    I was fascinated by some antique medical devices I saw in another museum some time ago. Ew and ick!

    I’m no nurse. In fact, I’m generally terrified of hospitals, medical procedures, illness, etc. But I loved–still love–abnormal psychology, and a life of working with disordered kids or in autism research was on my plate of seriously-considered options. I would be interested in the Mutter Museum. I can believe it’s not for everyone, though.

    I think it’s beneficial not just to the medical community, but to anyone interested or curious. Understanding history is always good, as is having a wider view of the world. I’ve never known or even seen conjoined twins, but it’s good to know about them.

    It’s a small world. The more we know of it, the better our understanding, tolerance, respect, and love for it, the broader our perspective.

    Regarding the use of a wheeled device, I think being independently mobile was to Rose and Ruby’s advantage. They could go places on Rose’s legs that they wouldn’t have been able to go–certainly not as easily–on a wheeled device.

    Furthermore, it fits that Aunt Lovey would encourage them to function as normally as possible and to be as independent as possible. I can believe she withheld such a device to force Rose to develop the necessary muscle and skill to move herself and Ruby around.