Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

aaaaRemember what childhood friendships can be like? Quite often, we become best friends with someone and probably swear to each other that this friendship will last forever. Such is the case in Kristin Hannah’s touching story Firefly Lane. We hear, “Best friends forever. They’d believed it would last, that vow, that someday they’d be old women, sitting in their rocking chairs on a creaking deck, talking about the times of their lives, and laughing. “

Even the best intentioned promises can sometimes go awry as we learn in this 30 year history of friendship between Kate and Tully. It began in 1974 when Kate Mularkey was feeling especially isolated and coming to terms with the fact that she wasn’t popular or pretty. In fact, she might best be described as ordinary.

Then, miracle of miracles a new family moved in across the street and in that family was Tully Hart , the coolest, best looking girl Kate had ever seen. Further, Tully wanted to be her friend, not just an acquaintance but best friends. They were opposites in many ways, but that didn’t matter they swore their friendship would never end.

Tully had aspirations and in the years to come she would do whatever it took to become successful, to be acknowledged by all as the best. She does reach the top as a broadcast journalist. Kate, although, has no such dreams. She simply wants to be a wife and mother, which she does with her husband Johnny and daughter Marah.

Years pass, 30 of them, when suddenly a friendship that was to last forever seems irreparably broken.

I nominated this book for our March Bookies read and it won the vote.  I know it was the friendship storyline that drew me to choose it.  I love reading about strong women friendships, I always have… and reading the back of this book led me to believe that is what we would be getting by venturing into this world of “friends forever” from a young age to adult.

While I wasn’t disappointed… I actually struggled a bit with this friendship – Tully whose life was a mess, no securities with her family, a non-existent father who last she heard was in jail, a mother who never got beyond the 60’s and drugs and lives her life in a fog…. all Tully really has going for her is her incredible beauty which she learns how to use at a young age to get things she wants.

Kate on the flip side of that is a wallflower.  Quietly living out her life with both parents intact, while pretty, she doesn’t know it or have the confidence to enhance it.  She dresses outdated, she wears glasses that should have been tossed decades ago and she lives life in the shadows and prefers it that way.

Put these two together and while I love to see Kate grow stronger in herself and that is yes, thanks to Tully – Tully takes advantage of the friendship again and again and again throughout the book all the way to the point of it effecting a relationship between Kate and her teenage daughter.

Honestly – there were times I would have shown Tully the door – for good.  Her actions angered me, and it wasn’t until I started writing the review that I in the end – the very end as in my mind I lay this book to rest – I got it.

Kate needed an outrageous Tully to become who she was going to become.  Kate’s life would have never gone the way that it did if not for Tully, her marriage, her lifestyle… Kate would have continued to live life in the shadows and never known there was something more out there for her.

Tully needed Kate.  If not for Kate’s level headed advice and Kate’s family – Tully would have self destructed long ago.  She needed to know she was loved…. and after years of trying to find it the wrong way… she always knows it is real from Kate and her family and she is drawn like a moth to light, time and again.

Mixed feelings on parts of the book but over all I think I have to give it a 3.9.

I started and finished this book in Honduras.

Update after Bookies Review on March 10:  Our book review was during a snow storm.  We met at Boardwalk Bread and Bagel, 5 of us made it to this review.  We all agreed that the friendship between Tully and Kate was one we were not sure we could have dealt with – mainly, Tully and her missing sensitivity chip.  I was pleasantly surprised though that the book rated a high 4 overall, and while the book made us angry at times, overall the read was pretty good and the message at the end about cancer was good for all of us to remember.

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