by Kristin Hannah
I chose this book because I found it in audio book form at my library, and I needed something new to listen to on my way to work. My mother had read it before and loved it (she’s a big Kristin Hannah fan), and I wanted to see what the hype was about. Long story short, it was pretty good, but I definitely feel I am a few decades younger than its intended audience.
Kate and Tully have been friends since Tully moved to Kate’s street in the 70’s. Kate, a self-defined loser, was struggling with loneliness after her group of childhood friends began hanging out in a bad crowd. Tully, a girl who used high school popularity to cope with her mother’s abandonment of her, moves in right across the street from Kate and is instantly declared to be the coolest girl in town. Despite the odds, Kate and Tully become best friends, and together, they learn to weather life’s storms.
Addressing major events as well as day-to-day life for these women over several decades of their lives, I felt like I missed a lot. I didn’t know much about the political landscape of the early 90’s, I couldn’t really relate to being a sorority girl in the 80’s, and by the time it got to the millennium, something that I was pretty aware of, it was still hard to think of things from an older adult’s standpoint. My mother, though, is around the same age as the women, so I can see why she enjoyed it so much.
On an emotional level, I found myself instantly relating to Kate, seeing Tully as the weaker link in the friendship. Flighty, emotionally screwed up, egotistical, and a bit of a slut, Tully doesn’t seem like the kind of girl that nice-girl Kate would have stuck around with for so many years. Maybe it’s because I, like Kate, am a bit of a hopeless romantic (with ‘hopeless’ being the key word), but I found myself really drawn to her values and her feelings and wondered if the book was purposely written so that the reader would feel empathy for Kate and distrust Tully. If anyone else has read it, I’d be very interested in hearing if you felt differently, because to me, the book definitely felt like it was written with bias.
The book starts out with an excerpt that comes up again in a later chapter, and it paints a really bleak outlook for the future. I spent a significant portion of the book waiting for a big axe to fall, and when it finally did, I didn’t feel too affected by it. Maybe I’ve grown too used to the plot twists and emotional dramas of Jodi Piccoult novels, but this book didn’t really give me a big shock.
Altogether, it was a pretty good read (or, in my case, listen), but I think I’ll leave Kristen Hannah for my mother’s generation.