Monday, July 13, 2015

A Tale of Two Friends: My review of Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah


Firefly Lane

Kristin Hannah
Paperaback, 479 pages
**** Stars
Goodreads
Amazon

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the social food-chain at school. Then, to her amazement, the 'coolest girl in the world' moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all -beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be, but they make a pact to be best friends forever, by summer's end they've become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

For thirty years Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship, jealousy, anger, hurt and resentment. Tully follows her ambition to find fame and success. Kate knows that all she wants is to fall in love and have a family but what she doesn't know is that being a wife and mother will change her. They think they've survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart and puts their courage and lifelong friendship to the ultimate test.

   My Review

Firefly Lane follows the lives of two young girls Tully Hart and Kate Mularkey, into adulthood. The story chronicles their highs and lows and everything in between.   The novel starts out with a present moment in time, and immediately throws us into the past where we relive their lives, and end up at the beginning of the book.   Now I remember why I don't read Kristin Hannah books! Not because she's not good at what she does, it's clearly the opposite! She guts me everytime!!!! And like a moth to a flame I will most likely read the second book in the series.  I won't be able to help it.  I've become invested in these characters and I must see it to the end.  

At the start, I liked Tully.  She comes from a broken family which shapes who she becomes as an adult.  I started disliking her more than half-way through the book.   Her desire to "have it all" and be the center of attention turned her into a self-centered, hollow and envious character.  However, she redeems herself and essentially all is forgiven.  Such is the way with true friendship right?  We can be as ugly as we need to be and still have someone there who loves us enough to slap us upside the head. Which is exactly what Tully needed.  Her proverbial "slap" comes in the form of a grave realization about her bff and from there it's a smooth ride on redemption road. 

Kate is the backbone of the relationship.  She's loyal with a quiet strength about her and although she could be meek and a bit of a pushover at times, she grounds Tully.  She was so patient and caring, it made me mad that she allowed herself to be pulled along into Tully's dream.  Where was her voice in the friendship?  I felt like she measured herself against Tully and allowed herself to live vicariously through her bff.  However, for all of that, not once did I detect jealousy or see the green monster rear it's head.  Until she meets John "Johny" Ryan.  The love of Kate's life.  What a tangled mess of feelings!

Firefly Lane is realistic and poignant depiction of a bond, of soul mates, that spans three decades.  It's a story of love, loss, family and redemption.  Of picking up the pieces after being broken.  It's a story of being strong when you have no idea how to be and moving forward when you feel like you can't move.  And underneath all of that, it's the story of two girls who met one day and forged a bond under the night sky on Firefly Lane.

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