The Busy Bibliophile

where I review books, mostly ya and chick-lit

firefly lane by kristin hannah August 4, 2011

Filed under: 3 stars,besties,chick-lit,kristin hannah,romantic,sad — Andrea @ 4:15 pm

In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all—beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer’s end they’ve become TullyandKate. Inseparable.So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives. 

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness. 

 Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn’t know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she’ll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she’ll envy her famous best friend. . . . 

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship—jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they’ve survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.

Firefly Lane is for anyone who ever drank Boone’s Farm apple wine while listening to Abba or Fleetwood Mac. More than a coming-of-age novel, it’s the story of a generation of women who were both blessed and cursed by choices. It’s about promises and secrets and betrayals. And ultimately, about the one person who really, truly knows you—and knows what has the power to hurt you . . . and heal you. Firefly Lane is a story you’ll never forget . . . one you’ll want to pass on to your best friend.


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Firefly Lane is a story about two young girls who become best friends. We follow them through school, college, falling in and out of love, forming careers and families, and as they deal with the every day.

The story began strong, with likable, if not relatable, characters. Kate, the unsure young girl with the supportive family, and Tully, the outcast girl with no family to speak of. They bond and immediately become best friends.

I was never quite convinced why Kate would continue to be so close to Tully as they grew up. In Kate, Tully found someone she could trust and boss around, but Kate gained nothing from the friendship. I don’t think the reasoning behind the continuing friendship was fully fleshed out. Especially as they grew older and Tully became more and more self involved. She did nothing for Kate except use her.

The era-appropriate references were a nice touch at first, but it eventually seemed that maybe Kristin Hannah had a list of references she had to fit in at all costs.

To me, the middle part (after they go to college) really dragged on. It just followed their daily lives, with no real goal. At one point, I found myself asking “What is the point here?” The story just meandered on with no purpose. It did very little to hold my attention.

The marriage between Kate and Johnny seemed designed to confuse. Though he was clearly in love with Tully, he ended up marrying Kate. And Kristin’s writing was meant to leave the reader wondering whether he truly loved Kate or only married her because she was pregnant. That plot line felt unfinished.

There were a few characters who seemed placed there only to move the story along. Edna, Tully’s big break, was there just to tell Tully to choose career or family, then she just sort of disappeared. Kate’s young twins only showed up to illustrate how stressed out Kate was.

The end, which anyone can see coming, definitely made me reach for the kleenex. It was handled well, though, with believable interaction between the characters.

The sum up:  Firefly Lane was enjoyable. Not your average chick-lit breezy beach read, but it will do to pass the time.


spill it.

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