Rose and Ruby are twenty-nine-year-old conjoined twins. Born to a shocked teenaged mother, they are raised by the nurse who helped deliver them -Aunt Lovey and her husband, Uncle Stash. Joined to Ruby at the head, Rose’s face is pulled to one side, but she has full use of her limbs. Ruby has a beautiful face, but her body is tiny and she is unable to walk. She rests her legs on her sister’s hip. In spite of their situation, the girls lead surprisingly separate lives. They work at different jobs and pursue different hobbies. The novel begins with Rose, but eventually moves to Ruby’s point of view and then switches back and forth. Because the girls face in slightly different directions, neither can see what the other is writing. Their overlapping stories are told in two distinct styles.
What the Armchair Critics Thought:
This book was given a lukewarm rating. It was well written, but many of us found it too long -with scenes (such as the time in Slovakia) added for no apparent reason. The novel also left us with a slightly voyeristic feeling -as if gawking at a freak show. We wondered by Lansens chose not to interview actual co-joined twins for the novel, but instead made up her idea of what it would be like. It was interesting to hear the story from two different voices and perspectives, but difficult to fathom the complete lack of privacy the girls must have experienced.