I don’t think I’ve ever had such wide mood swings with a novel. When I first started listening to Kristin Hannah’s Firefly Lane I didn’t think I was going to make it. There are certain books that I choose specifically as audio versions because there are other books that I know I want to experience on the printed page. However, early in Firefly Lane, it seemed it was going to be too fluffy, too sentimental for even an audio experience.
Firefly Lane is the story of two girls – Kate and Tully – who are as different as two girls can be. However, at age 14, both feel alone in the world and in that isolation, find each other and solidify a friendship that will carry them for years.
Kate is a quiet Catholic “good girl” with an average family while Tully is daring risk-taker, forging her own way due to a drug-addicted mother. When the novel starts out, these stereotyped girls are bland, predictable and the dialogue is just corny.
However, as the girls grow up, the writing seems to do the same thing. They go to college and Tully gives them the same dream of being a broadcast journalist. In Kate’s ownership of her personal dreams, she starts to separate from Tully and grow into a character that the reader actually starts to believe and like. By the time Kate marries, Hannah has developed a real relationship between the two women, recognizable by any girl who has maintained long-time friendships, complete with jealousy, betrayal, misunderstandings and forgiveness.
Never is the friendship more on the line than when Kate’s oldest daughter becomes a teenager and the struggle over loyalty and love among the three is tested again and again. At this point, Kate is a hard working, stay-at-home mom, doing her best to juggle the responsibility of three kids and a successful husband. Tully is in the height of an insanely lucrative career that feeds her enormous ego. Mara is Kate’s head-strong daughter, much more like her godmother than her mother, and she manipulates their friendship to try to get what she wants.
When Tully commits the ultimate betrayal, I was so proud of Hannah. I could not wait to see how Kate and Tully would find their way back to each other.
And then she does it.
The rest of my review is in white because it contains spoilers. If you want to read it, select the seemingly blank space with your cursor.
The most lame and sentimental plot device ever. Kate gets cancer and dies. Yep. Instead of forcing Tully to grow up and get over herself in a meaningful and insightful way, she gets to feel guilty and remorseful because her time with Kate is going to be cut short. UGH!!!!
I’ll repeat, I don’t think I’ve ever had such wide mood swings with a novel. For a book that came so close, it fell remarkably hard. Hannah writes a post script to the book and tells of her own experience of losing her mother to cancer and how personal this particular book was for her. Not to be callous, but if she needs to write about cancer, then do that. But let Firefly Lane be about the girls. Making this friendship story about cancer seems very familiar – I saw it in the 80’s, and it was called Beaches.
In the end, I guess I think that is a decent chick-lit read, and even more so for a younger reader. I would love to hear what others think who have read this one.
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