“Firefly Lane” by Kristin Hannah

Title: Firefly Lane

Author: Kristin Hannah

Published by: St. Martin’s Press

Genres: Young Adult, Fiction, Contemporary

In-Series/Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Rating: ★★★★★

Intro: 

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 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, and 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.

My Review: 

I remember the day I first came in contact with “Firefly Lane” – I was in seventh grade, only 13 years old; skimming the classroom’s bookshelf for a book to read while everyone else completed their exam. I was starting to give up, mostly because I’d already read everything on the shelf, until I caught sight of a blue book resting on top of the others. I took it, skimmed the back cover, shrugged, and started reading. Nothing could’ve prepared me for what I was about to experience. I was so absorbed in the book, I didn’t even notice the time had passed and everyone was packing up to go home. Firefly Lane is a book very close to my heart – I have this inexplicable personal connection with it, and I find myself re-reading it every few months. I still have my copy that I “borrowed” but never gave back – just looking at it brings back so many memories. The story starts out in the 60’s with two girls who live completely different lives, but a tragic revelation brings them together and they stay friends through it all – high school, college, marriage, children. I finished this book with a face full of tears – Kristin Hannah is one of those authors who really knows what she’s doing when it comes to touching her readers’ hearts. She mentions in her afterword that this story is really personal to her, and you can see why. The characters are so well written, they seem real, touchable. We all go through those times in our lives where we stop and wonder, “what if I chose another path? Where would I be right now?” This is a book not just about the powerful friendship Tully and Kate have, but about all the forks in the road they face as they grow up and enter the world. It’s about how times change, and people change along with it. It’s an immeasurably touching deception of family, love, strife, career choices, and undying friendship. I’ve never read a more profound fictional portrayal of these real life issues before, and I guess that’s what made me love this book so much that I go back and read it every once in a while – the sincerity. Kristin Hannah is brilliant, knowledgeable, and so full of passion that this novel is like a spider’s web. Delicate, but strong, mesmerizing, deadly, heart wrenchingly painful. Like a painting, each stroke of the author’s pen makes us look deep into the meaning of how fate really can be fickle.

Favorite Quotes:

“That was the thing about best friends. Like sisters and mothers, they could piss you off and make you cry and break your heart, but in the end, when the chips were down, they were there, making you laugh even in your darkest hours.”

~

“To make real friends you have to put yourself out there. Sometimes people will let you down, but you can’t let that stop you. If you get hurt, you just pick yourself up, dust off your feelings, and try again.”

~

“That was what a best friend did: hold up a mirror and show you your heart.”

~

“One thing I can tell you for sure is this: we only regret what we don’t do in life.”

~

“Of course you can fall in love. You just have to let yourself. They don’t call it falling for nothing.”

~

“When you get… to the end, you see that love and family are all there is. Nothing else matters.”

~

“Nobody’s strong enough to be a parent. We just do it, blindly, going forward on faith and love and hope. That’s all it is… Being afraid… and going on.”

~

“It was true; always had been. Friendships were like marriages in that way. Routines and patterns were poured early and hardened like cement.”

~

“Sometimes being a good friend means saying nothing.”
“I’m supposed to watch her make a mistake?”
“Sometimes, yes. And then you stand by to pick up the pieces.”

*DISCLAIMER* If you have not read this book yet, I’d really recommend not going through the comments section in case there’s a spoiler. You can always come back here later to discuss after you’ve read the book! (Or contact me if you want to talk about it beforehand)

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