Firefly Lane – Kristin Hannah
pub. February 2008, 479 pgs.
From the book jacket -
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.
From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success… and loneliness.
All Kate really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her… how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend…
For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship – jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart… and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.
My thoughts -
This is not the type of book that I would ordinarily pick up, but I had heard some good things about it from another blogger, and when I spotted a brand new copy at the library I figured I might as well try. I’m definitely glad I did, because I enjoyed this novel far more than I expected to. This is mainly a book about friendship, but it’s so much more than just about these two characters, Tully and Kate. It’s about growing up, family, relationships, love, fame, motherhood, and so much more. I think a lot of mothers will feel for both Kate and Tully – one takes the stay at home mom path, the other takes the successful, rich, and no husband/kids path, and they both end up being jealous of one another for their “road not taken”. I have often wondered what I will do when the time comes to have children – will I continue with my career, getting the advanced degrees that I badly want and doing the work that I really feel driven to do, or will I decide to be a full-time mom, and make caring for my children and household the center of my life? Or will I try to do it all, as we women are told we can do, but so few are actually able to? I think this is something that every mother struggles with, and I’m sure I will too (heck, I struggle with it now, and I don’t plan on having kids for several years). That is just one of the real life issues dealt with in this book.
The characters are very real for me in this book, and I think that’s the main reason why I enjoyed it so much. This is not the type of book that can handle dull, lifeless characters – it is a completely character-driven story. Of course there is plot, and lots of it, but you really have to feel that Kate, Tully, and everyone else is real to get into the story. While I liked the way the characters were written, I actually didn’t like some of them at all. Tully annoyed me in so many ways, as did Kate’s husband (but not as much). I’m ok with that though – the fact that I was irritated so much by these characters’ actions meant that I cared about what was going on in the story, and that is important.
One other thing – this “betrayal” they speak of? Well, let me just say that I was SO convinced that I knew what it would be; throughout the whole book I was positive that it was going to be this one thing, and I was going to be so mad that it was obvious to me, but then… shocker… it was something completely different from what I had expected. Totally threw me off guard (and made me hate Tully even more than I already did, by the way). I was VERY happy to see that my suspicions weren’t correct and the book wasn’t so predictable as I was anticipating.
So I would recommend this one. Not my favorite book by any means, but a really good, heartfelt story, with well written characters and a moderately fast pace.