Saturday, 23 January 2021

Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah Book Review!

Hi Readers! I am finally here with my first book review for the year! This is actually the 4th book I read this year. I didn’t really feel like reviewing the others, but I had to write a book review for Firefly Lane! This is the third Kristin Hannah book I read & naturally I liked it. I had wanted to read more of Kristin Hannah's books. Since Katherine Heigl & Sarah Chalke are starring in the Firefly Lane series on Netflix, I had to read the book before the series is out on 8th Feb! Finally, I read it & here are my overpouring thoughts!

~~GOODREADS DESCRIPTION~~

From the New York Times bestselling author of On Mystic Lake comes a powerful novel of love, loss, and the magic of friendship. . . .

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.

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.


~~OVERALL THOUGHTS~~

As I said before, it is very difficult to collect all my thoughts about Firefly Lane. There are so many amazing things in it, but also a few things that don’t quite fit. I wanted to LOVE this book, but because of these many little wrong things, I just couldn’t take the leap.

It’s a remarkable story, yes, but what is the story even? It’s a roller-coaster story of a friendship, but was that even friendship in the first place? It’s the story of how two women choose different life paths, but is it even about feminism if those paths are so unrealistically extreme? It’s a story with an eventual betrayal in friendship, but why doesn’t it feel like the most horrible heartbreak it is meant to be? It’s a story spanned across 30 years, but does it even count for it? I think for every amazing thing in this book, there is a counter-productive thing that doesn’t quite make it amazing as a whole.


~~ALL THE FEELS~~

Starting with all the good points, I loved all the feels in the book. Be it the heartfelt moments where Kate & Tully promise to be best friends forever or the heartbreaking moments of arguments between Kate & her daughter Marah. Be it the dilemma moments for Tully to side with Kate or Marah. Be it the constant sexual tension moments with Tully & Johnny. Be it the inferior complex moments Kate felt with Tully. Even if you might not have lived these moments yourself, they somehow become so real, that you always end up connecting with the characters over those emotions.

With Kristin Hannah, it is always this way. Her writing is so powerful that, no matter how different the characters might be, you always connect with them. Be it a secret soldier in the World War or a wife in an abusive relationship literally living isolated from the world or a mother so exhausted she forgot to live for herself. I’m sure if Kristin Hannah were to write about a psychopathic person living the life of a Social Media Influencer with millions of followers but all this person wants is to secretly murder people & drink their blood, I’m sure I’d find some way of connecting with that person. All hail Kristin Hannah!


~~POWERFUL MESSAGES~~

When I first started reading the book, I thought, “This will be a light read. A cute story about a 30-year long friendship!” But, I was so wrong. There are so many hidden lessons in it that you have to work to figure them out. I loved how Kate & Tully chose two different paths. Tully follows her ambition & makes it big in the news world. Kate follows her heart, falls in love & devotes herself to her family. It’s amazing how the challenges, sacrifices & rewards of both these journeys are written for Kate & Tully.

What I found ironic was how extreme this was. Yes, Tully becomes famous & has her own Talk Show, but she has NO ONE to love in her life except for the Mularkeys & the Ryans. And, Kate becomes so engrossed in motherhood, knitting, bake sales & such that she COMEPLETLEY abandons her dream of becoming a writer. I mean, in the real world it is not this extreme. Women can achieve their dreams & have a family. Secondly, even after reaching the height of success in their individual paths, they both always seem to be ‘missing something’ in life. I think this part about them ‘missing something’ had entirely an opposite effect to the feminism angle in the book. It could have all been pieced together better is all I think.

Lastly, we also understand about Inflammatory Breast Cancer. I have watched Grey’s Anatomy for the past 10+ years, so I had heard of this, but turns out not many women are aware of this type of breast cancer. It is all the more scary because its symptoms are not similar to those of breast cancer, such as lumps etc. I think it is important to research a bit about it & read it for all our own sakes.


~~STORY OF FRIENDSHIP~~

Let’s talk about the apparently remarkable story of friendship, shall we?

When it comes to friendships in books & movies, I always have something of a sixth sense to actually evaluate them from a real perspective. The only friendship story to which I opened my heart & closed my eyes to was for Khaled Hosseini’s ‘The Kite Runner’. It’s the single most flawless story of friendship & every time I think about it, it makes me want to bawl my eyes out. Then there are friendships in other books that never quite hit the peak, which I experienced to be true in Firefly Lane.

Tully is the quintessential extrovert who adopted introvert Kate into friendship. I think this was why Kate was still the shy & geeky girl even when she was a 30-year-old woman. Tully, on the other hand, was always bitchy & considered herself superior to Kate. Because of Tully’s issues with her mother, she never quite became a grown-up either. She was always that 10-year-old girl waiting for her mother’s approval even when she was a 30-year-old woman. Both Tully & Kate never grew up, which I feel was an important factor in why they stayed best friends for over 30 years! There is absolutely no character development. For a character-driven novel, it does not have much character growth. Kate remains the underdog & always goes back to Tully. And, Tully with her proud ego never apologises because she know Kate will come crawling back to her. Tully’s bitchiness & over-bearing nature matches exactly with Kate’s spinelessness & mousy nature which is the behind-the-scenes highlight of this apparently remarkable story of friendship.

I have been in enough friendships & also seen enough friendships to know the difference between friends & enablers & just loneliness making you do things you don’t really want to do.


~~PREDICTABILITY & SIMPLICITY~~

Like with every other novel, I always judge the predictability of the story along with the complexity of it. Firefly Lane does not fare well on either of these aspects. Tully & Kate’s friendship is shown to be rock solid, that you can always sense there is a big fight coming. It is mentioned in the Goodreads blurb, but I hadn’t read it earlier, so I was kind of on the edge of my seat waiting for the big fight. And when it actually happened, I was disappointed. Even though it was heartbreaking for Tully & Kate, as a reader it did not feel heartbreaking to me. Many of their earlier fights had more weightage than the one that actually broke their friendship.

Apart from this, there always seemed to be a tension between Tully & Johnny. It was such a relief that their separation was not because of Johnny, as it felt almost too predictable.

Given the length of the book, I knew there would be another disaster on the way. And in most cases, it is always with death, especially in the case of an estranged friendship. I would’ve been far happier if it were Tully rather than Kate, but I think a part of me knew it would be Kate.

Now for the simplicity of the story. While reading the book, it comes off as entirely simple. Nothing special or extraordinary about it. Given all the clich├ęs in the novel, I am surprised I enjoyed the reading experience.


~~CONCLUSION~~

For a person who gave 4/5 stars to Firefly Lane, I sure had my problems with it. But, these problems cropped up after actually reading the book. It was a fun, albeit emotionally wrecking journey to read the book, basis which I have based my rating. And when I started thinking on it, I realized how it was not what it seemed to be. Did any of you feel this way about the book? Let me know in the comments below!


Until next time,



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