February 23, 2008

Review: Firefly Lane

Firefly Lane
by Kristin Hannah
479 pages

A used ARC edition of Firefly Lane arrived in my mailbox on my birthday. How cool was that? I had read several reviews, a mixed bag of negative and positive. Even those who loved it had to admit to many of the flaws pointed out by the negative reviewers. So I pretty much knew what I was getting into.

This is the story of Tully, the gorgeous and dramatic but damaged girl who is desperate for attention but too smart to believe in love; and Kate, the average girl from the average middle-class home who is in need a friend. Tully and Kate, the Firefly Lane Girls, make fast friends, promising to remain best friends forever, no matter what. As they grow up and move into adulthood, their promise is challenged many times. Just how much can their friendship withstand?

The first few chapters were enough for me to see that the writing was quite uninspired. Not exceptional writing. It actually reminded me of my own writing style. The plot appeared forced and unlikely from the very beginning. I spent a lot of time rolling my eyes. But I didn't give up. I was surprised at how fast I was getting through it.

But along the way I was pulled in to the storyline. There were predictable parts and there were overly sentimental scenes but, though I knew how it would turn out in the end, I wanted to know how they all got there.

One of the drawing-in devices is the constant references to music of the time period. The book is divided by centuries, the titles being popular songs of the time: The Seventies, Dancing Queen; The Eighties, Love is a Battlefield; The Nineties, I'm Every Woman; The New Millennium, A Moment Like This. The fashion styles were also used as a way to show the passage of time, making reference to hairstyles and clothing trends. Using pop culture can be a great way to bring in a certain readership right from the start but it can leave a book dated quickly. Without better writing to back it up I'm afraid Firefly Lane will fade out of memory soon.

I kept thinking as I read that this book was so very much like Beaches, and the more recently published Rise and Shine. If you liked either one of those books you will probably like this one too. It is a remarkably quick read for its size and will leave the more sentimental readers with the warm fuzzies.


Trish said...

I had many of the same feelings about Water for Elephants (in terms of the "uninspired" writing). This one sounds like a fun read--I loved Beaches (the movie, anyway).

Petunia said...

My mom loved Beaches but I was young enough that a lot of it went over my head. Reading this made me want to watch it again.