We first meet Finny Short when she is a preteen, just trying to get by in a family where she doesn’t feel she belongs. As a fourteen-year-old, she is sent away to boarding school by her conservative parents in order to keep her away from her crush next door, Earl. We follow Finny throughout her years at boarding school, and then into college and beyond. We meet Judith, her boarding school roommate who turns into a lifelong friend, Earl who Finny keeps in touch with throughout her entire adult life, and her brother who turns out to be not such a bad guy as an adult. Through it all, Finny is a charming and delightful character who sneaks into the reader’s heart and stays there for a long time.
I loved this novel. Loved it. I don’t know if the book would have been enjoyable had I not loved Finny herself, but since I did, the entire experience of reading her story was just fantastic. She is such a charming, interesting, lovely individual and I honestly began to picture her as a real person while reading the novel. I wanted to crawl inside her life, to immerse myself in what she was going through, to become her friend. At some parts of the story, I wanted to give her a big hug and tell her everything was going to be okay, and other parts I just wanted to yell at her and tell her how wrong she was in her decisions. Pretty much how I feel about my real friends at different points in our lives. 🙂
There is a certain something about Finny that I can’t quite explain, but whatever it is, it made the novel absolutely fantastic. Something about the way it is written makes it feel timeless. That’s the best way I can describe the feeling the novel gave me – it felt as though I could have just as easily been reading A Tree Grows in Brooklyn or something like it. It felt like, although the book is quite modern, Finny could have been a girl from any generation going through what every girl/teen/twenty-something/thirty-something goes through. I don’t know that I’m explaining this properly, but it honestly took the book from good to great for me. I feel like this novel will be around for a long time to come.
You know how sometimes you just connect with a book – with its characters, with the story, with the writing, with everything about it – and you find yourself at a loss for words as to why? Well, that’s exactly how I feel about Finny. I feel like I’ve done an okay job telling you how much I loved this novel, but I’m still not sure my words did the book justice. So do me a favor and just read it for yourself. I seriously doubt it’s possible to be disappointed in this gem of a novel.