Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Firefly Lane Book Review
Kate Mularkey and Tully Hart meet in the turbulent summer of 1974 in the eighth grade. Kate doesn't have much style or many friends but then the "coolest girl on earth" moves next door. Their friendship isn't immediate but when Tully comes home one night after a party upset and raped, Kate finds her and swears to keep her secret. And that one night changes them both forever.
In Firefly Lane we follow these two women through 30 years of friendship. First, as Kate is wide-eyed at Tully's coolness factor and Tully is in awe of Kate's non-disfunctional family--particularly Kate's loving mother. They spend warm nights sneaking out for ride bikes along the bumpy dirt path of Firefly Lane. They sit by the riverbank and dare to dream of what the world might have in store for them. And from those early budding moments of friendship on, they are no longer Tully and Kate but TullyandKate. Inseparable.
We follow them through college as Tully finds a cause to dedicate her fierce determination and desire to be the center of attention: television journalism. Meanwhile Kate daydreams of love and struggles to find out what, if anything, truly motivates her besides her loyalty to her dear friend. Through several years that follow, Kate continues to play side kick to Tully. But then Tully gets her first big break: an internship at a local station and, of course, has to get Kate a job there too.
Kate believes she has less sense of self than Tully because all she truly wants is an "ordinary" life: to be a wife and a mother. Kate feels she's betraying women like her mother who weren't given the same kind of opportunities to go to college and pursue careers. Hannah certainly makes clear the kinds of changes that have occurred along the political landscape for women from not only generation to generation but decade to decade, something that adds an additional and enjoyable layer to this book.
Firefly Lane is a story about best friends and the roller coaster emotions of life: jealousy, betrayal, heartache, laughter, margaritas, and most of all--a North Star, someone always there to be guided back to no matter what. Firefly Lane so vividly details these women and their interwoven lives that you genuinely feel as though you know them, as if you've lived there right beside them. Kristin Hannah has done a beautiful job and written a wonderful story here that's sure not to disappoint.
When I was in the final chapter of the book I got off the DC Metro and walked to my car. Only I couldn't drive home. I couldn't dare leave until I had finished my journey with these women. And so, I sat in the dark with just my little car light on, tears streaming down my face, heart swollen, as I read through the final pages. I've read about Oprah feeling the need to buy The Color Purple for every one of her girlfriends when she first finished it. Well this is my Color Purple. Every one of my closest girlfriends is getting a copy of this for Christmas. I loved it. And, in many ways, I feel like I've lived it. I have these friends, these anchors in my life to which I owe so much and for whom I know I would do anything. No matter what transpires in time or how many days or weeks pass between phone calls, there are some friends that are our soul mates--we're tethered together forever.