FIREFLY LANE by Kristin Hannah [Review]

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

Lately I’ve been in the mood for some lighter reading, so I picked up Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah. I wanted the literary equivalent of turning on a Lifetime movie and it fit the bill. Firefly Lane is the story of two women who first meet as teenagers when their families live on the same street in the Pacific Northwest, and it follows the ups and downs of their friendship through the 70s, 80s, and 90s. Kate is an awkward teenager from a strict family who can’t believe her luck when Tully, the coolest girl in school, befriends her. Tully has no curfew and sexy clothes, but Kate soon learns that this is because she is neglected by her pot smoking, hippie mother. Kate’s family looks out for Tully as the girls grow up together and go to the same college, both majoring in journalism. Eventually their paths begin to diverge and it becomes evident that they have different priorities. Tully is incredibly driven and works hard to become a successful journalist, while Kate chooses a domestic life as stay at home mom. Each woman is happy with her choices yet feels pangs of jealousy over the other’s life. Firefly Lane looks at how a generation of women who’ve been told they can have it all struggle with actually making that happen.

Firefly Lane isn’t very original or fresh in its perspective, yet I simply could not put it down. In the first two-thirds of the book we see the girls mature into women and I was totally hooked on seeing the drama of their lives unfold. Unfortunately in the last third of the book the drama turns into melodrama that had me rolling my eyes and checking to make sure I wasn’t reading a Nicholas Sparks novel. It was also around this point that I realized the characters just weren’t going to develop enough for my liking (Kate needed to grow a backbone, dammit!). The thing is, even though I didn’t like Kate or Tully that much, Hannah’s writing is so good that I felt compelled to see how their story ended. She’s clearly a talented writer and I’m interested in reading more of her books. Even though I didn’t love Firefly Lane, I actually think it would be a good choice for book clubs because it’s the kind of book that elicits strong opinions and lively discussions.

Quotes from Firefly Lane:

They used to be called the Firefly Lane girls. That was a long time ago—more than three decades—but just now, as she lay in bed listening to a winter storm raging outside, it seemed like yesterday.

For more than a year she’d been telling herself it was okay, that she could go on without a best friend. Sometimes she even believed it. Then she would hear the music. Their music. “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road.” “Material Girl.” “Bohemian Rhapsody.” “Purple Rain.” Yesterday, while she’d been shopping, a bad Muzak version of “You’ve Got a Friend” had made her cry, right there next to the radishes.

Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars | Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin | Pages: 528 | Source: Purchased | Buy on Amazon

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