Monday, February 4, 2008

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Kate received the first message from Johnny two days after he left. Until then, she'd walked around the house in a daze, never far from the new fax/phone they'd put on the kitchen counter. As she went about the business of her day - changing diapers, reading stories, watching Marah crawl from one potentially dangerous piece of furniture to the next - she thought: Okay, Johnny: let me know you're alive and well. He'd told her that phone calls could only be made with dire need (to which she'd argued that her need was dire, and why didn't that count?), but that faxes were not only possible but relatively easy. ~ Firefly Lane, page 252 ~

In the summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. 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: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn; Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer's end they've become TullyandKate; Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah's magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the mainstay of their lives.

I just finished Firefly Lane last night and still find myself crying this morning. When your life is laid out before you it can be a bit of an emotional roller coaster. I was raised in Western Washington just like Ms. Hannah and during the same years as the characters. I identified a lot with the places, music and world events. The last 50 or so pages were like living my life again from 1995-1997 when my father battled cancer and eventually passed. I got caught up in the lives of Tully and Kate and it was interesting to see them change, or not, over the next 30+ years. For most of the book I wanted to rail and rage at Tully and a bit at Kate. For the most part I didn't really like Tully and wouldn't have wasted my time on her but in the end, like Kate, I forgave her because that's what true friendship and love are about.

For most readers this work of fiction is a story they'll enjoy or they won't. For me this story was a gift and I thank Ms. Hannah for that.

** Please disregard spelling errors. Blogger spell check isn't working. **


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