My rating: (5 / 5)
I feel as if I’ve aged about oh, forty years while reading this book.
Firefly Lane is the story of two girls, best friends “no matter what” who meet in the mid-70’s. They’re 14, both troubled in their own ways, one the product of a traditional, happy home, one the product of a nonconformist woman of the 60’s who cared more about drugs and having a great time than caring for her child. They meet when starting high school, a troubling time for most girls, and certainly that for both of them. Though they seem like unlikely friends at first – tough, cool, fashionable Tully who isn’t afraid of anything and geeky, uncertain, less-mature Katie with her unruly brows and shy disposition – they soon discover that there couldn’t be a more natural pairing.
I haven’t had a friendship like Tully and Katie’s in my life. I have had no one singular friend with me through all my journeys. But while reading this book? Honestly, I’m okay with that. Sure, I was jealous sometimes of having someone around who knew you that well, but at other times, it broke my heart how harshly they managed to skewer one another’s hearts.
I haven’t read a fiction book that tugged this hard on my heartstrings in a while. Oh, I’ve had books make me cry (which, to be honest, isn’t so hard to do. I cry at commercials, cute puppies, and cat head-bonks too). But I haven’t had them haunt me while I was reading them the way this book did. I felt every triumph, every heartbreak, every soaring emotion and crumbling defeat in their lives. It hurt me when they were angry with one another. It shattered me when the man one of them loved loved the other of them. It made me ache inside when I thought they would never be able to forgive one another.
This book is an emotional roller coaster. It is full of funny musical references – I was a little young for most of them to have affected me in quite the same ways, but remembered them from childhood and adolescence all the same – and ripe with cultural icons of every era from the 70’s onward. It’s an intimate look at the lives of women; how they intersect and affect one another, and the lives of mothers and daughters, and what a huge toll they can have on one another as well.
I loved this book. Sometimes I hated it for playing with my feelings, but mostly I loved it. I loved Katie, and Tully, and Johnny. Especially Johnny I think. You’ll probably love it if you’re anything like me.