Monday, 12 July 2010

Just finished reading: The Girls



This book made its way into my reading pile via the swaps that I do with friends, a great way of expanding my literary repetoire as I delve into works that I may not have chosen myself.  But then again I may have eventually stumbled upon this one on my own as it was a Richard and Judy recommendation.  To my surprise I've often found these a good read even though I don't find the bickering couple's TV programmes quite as hot.

The subject matter of  The Girls surprised me but that was only because I'd forgotten to read the back of the jacket.  Duh!   Fictional conjoined twins tell their life story from their individual perspectives, although Rose the sister who is motivated to write provides the greater part of the narrative.   The story is well crafted and did not always develop in the way that I predicted.   I was  delighted by the description given of a Heath Robinson-esque  bar stool that the twin's  friend adapted to help them mobilise. I am sure that this device would cause palpitations if seen by some of my more fragile fellow occupational therapists working in physical settings. It didn't sound exactly up to kitemark safety standards.

The book moved me to see whether this novel was a match for the real experience of conjoined twins Although   Lori Lansen, the author of the book, cites some relatively academic sources for her story , the list did not include any autobiographical accounts.  And these do seem to be rare and may become more so as many twins these days seem to be successfully separated.  However,  with my extra little bit of delving into the subject using  Wikipedia,  I was delighted to see that the inspiration for the mobility contraption was probably  based on one designed by George Schappell, herself a craniopagus conjoined twin.    The entry for George and her sister Lori, who pursue different interests and professions gave me a further understanding of the degree of individuality that people living in such close proximity to each other are capable of.

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