Firefly Lane, by Kristin Hannah
One of my oldest and bestest friends recommended Firefly Lane to me during a visit to see her this summer. The nature of post-college-new jobs-marriage-bills-and-the-US-is-a-big-place life meant that the two of us had not seen each other in 10 years before we got together this summer. Ten years! (insert Grosse Point Blank reference here). Sure, we'd communicated via phone and text and email and Facebook, but it's just no the same, you know? All that to say, usually the fact that a friend recommends a book to me doesn't really effect my opinion or enjoyment of the book. But in this case, a book about a lifelong recommended to me by a lifelong friend became more enjoyable and poignant because of that recommendation.
But about the book: Tully and Katie meet at 14, both lonely and entrenched in the awkward pain of adolescence. Although they are far from friends at first, when Katie reaches out to Tully after a crisis, the two become best friends. Inseperable. The rest of the book follows their lives for the next 30 years -- high school, college, jobs, boyfriends, families, success, failure, pain and joy. In many ways, Firefly Lane is exactly what you'd expect: a drama about women, told in sweeping brush strokes. Hannah has stocked the book with a lot of pop culture references which help you get the feel of how much time is passing, although it times it feels a bit awkward and stilted. What I appreciate about this book is that Hannah manages to write a drama that avoids melodrama. The emotions in the book feel genuine, as does the relationship between the two main characters. The secondary characters are not super fleshed out, but the story is really about Katie and Tully anyway.
Bottom line: a story that will make you want to get on the phone and call up your best friend to tell her how much you love her. Oh, and fair warning: put a box of tissues next to your chair!