ISBN: 0-316-16728-2 Pages: 340 pages It started out pretty bad, I mean, let’s get real. How many of us can connect instantly to a pair of craniopagus twins stuck together at the head? You can connect to a protagonist who is a bad ass swearer who spends his time loitering in the pubs because his wife left him. But craniopagus twins? Not a lot. So, in the beginning, it was like a narrative piece of poetry trying to let us into the world of a pair of twin sisters stuck at the head. Rose and Ruby. For your benefit, here’s the synopsis. “Twin sisters Rose and Ruby Darlen have been known since birth simply as “The Girls”. Raised by Aunt Lovey, the nurse who took them in after their mother abandoned them, they have lived all their lives in the small town of Leaford, in an old farmhouse bordered by cornfields. This is their story, told by Rose and Ruby themselves – two sisters who are ordinary in most respects but who have a relationship of profound and unmatched intimacy. For “The Girls” are conjoined twins, connected inseparably, facing the world side by side. As Rose and Ruby speak, and as their stories unfold, diverge, and intertwine, the novel charts the depths of a miraculous friendship, unsettling and beautiful in its closeness. The Girls aims at the heart of human experience and celebrates the fundamental joy of connection” The difference in their personalities has been intricately webbed out by the author. One hard, one soft. One pretty, one ugly. One able, one disable. One seeing, one unseeing. One purposeful, one missionless. One passionate, one succumbing. One a writer, one a dreamer. In a lot of ways, Rose and Ruby are completely different and yet they’re stuck together….where it counts most. When one wants to write, one wants to sleep. While Rose likes to explore and travel, Ruby is car sick. The odds are against them in every imaginable way. What’s more profound is that the author writes them in turn….very personal ways….like they’re writing a diary. While Rose takes her writing more seriously because she’s the writer in the family, Ruby’s accounts are more personal. Rose never revealed the fact that there’s a tumor in her brain that is bound to explode one fine day, the twins are to die but Rose never revealed it, never wrote about it. Instead, it was Ruby who revealed it to us in her writing. When Rose felt headaches, cannot see, and her mobility reduced to a wheelchair, Rose says nothing and it was Ruby who spilled the beans to the readers in her part of the autobiography. I find it interesting how Lori Lansen manages to write one part of Rose’s ‘autobiography’ when she was already blind. The author manages to write from a blind person’s point of view. I don’t know about you but I find that incredibly difficult. Reduced to just four senses, Lori Lansen probably had to close her eyes and write that part. Although I trudged through the first part of the book by taking more than 2 months to actually get to reading it, I am glad I didn’t ditch this book aside. The more I got to know Rose and Ruby, the more I understood them and how their languid lifestyle was a dread. And how persistent they were in remaining alive despite their conjoinment. Through this, a bond is definite. They complain about each other but in some part of their brains, they can probably read each other’s minds. Did they die in the end because of the aeneurysm in Rose’s brain? (They cannot be operated on because it’s on a major vein in the brain that they share) Lori Lansen, the author, did not say. She ended the ‘autobiography’ with a very short but sweet good bye filled with hope and dreams for the girls. Inconclusive but up to your imagination.