The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins

The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins

22318401 “The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins” by Irvine Welsh

Publisher’s Synopsis: When Lucy Brennan, a Miami Beach personal-fitness trainer, disarms a gunman chasing two frightened homeless men, the police and the breaking-news cameras are not far behind and, within hours, Lucy is a media hero. The solitary eye-witness is the depressed and overweight Lena Sorensen, who becomes obsessed with Lucy and signs up as her client – though she seems more interested in the trainer’s body than her own. When the two women find themselves more closely aligned, and can’t stop thinking about the sex lives of Siamese twins, the real problems start…
In the aggressive, foul-mouthed trainer, Lucy Brennan, and the needy, manipulative Lena Sorensen, Irvine Welsh has created two of his most memorable female protagonists, and one of the most bizarre, sado-masochistic folie à deux in contemporary fiction. Featuring murder, depravity and revenge – and enormous amounts of food and sex – The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins taps into two great obsessions of our time – how we look and where we live – and tells a story so subversive and dark it blacks out the Florida sun.

*****

3 out of 5 stars

(Warning – this could be triggering for anyone dealing with food and/or weight issues)

This is the first book I have read by Irvine Welsh. It’s one of the few he has set in America and it is definitely American. Set in Miami where everyone is looks and weight obsessed, we first meet Lucy, a personal fitness trainer who singlehandedly stops a shooting by drop kicking the assailant. Her heroism is recorded by Lena, a 20-something overweight misfit and makes Lucy an overnight sensation.

Then things start to unravel. Lucy, whose dream is to become the next Jillian Michaels, finds out that the men she saved by stopping the shooter are pedophiles and the shooter was one of their victims. Lucy’s personal training takes on a new intensity for her clients – she tortures them with punishing workouts as they disgust her by their existence. Lena, who just won’t go away, becomes her favorite target and in a bizarre act Lucy kidnaps Lena with the intent of slimming her down.

Woven through this story is a subplot of a set of conjoined twins who are features in the news at the same time Lucy is featured. One of the twins would like to lose her virginity; the other, not so much. They become a symbol for what Lucy and Lena become – totally intertwined and dependant on each other, and hating the other most of the time.

This is a very different kind of book. It was fascinating to read the downward spiral of Lucy and Lena, and their redemption at the other end. Both of the women are carrying immense burdens of pain that they manifest in the two different ways outlined in the book – overeating and overweight, and calorie counting and constant working out. It made me uncomfortable, and made me think which I suppose is the goal of a book like this. I’m not sure if I liked it, but gave it three stars as it was gripping.

For someone who is overweight, like myself, it made me wonder if I’m looked at with disgust and horror, if the size of my body causes someone to react with revulsion. I can see how this could be triggering for someone with food issues. My mother just had a LAP-Band procedure done this week which makes me a little sad honestly. I am built just like her – short and round. As a culture we are obsessed with youth and beauty and that seems to equate to slenderness as well.

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