I borrowed Firefly Lane from the library of the coastal village where I spend my summer holidays – this has become a kind of tradition: one of the first things I do when I arrive is go to the library and spend an hour or more carefully picking my summer reads, as if I hadn’t already taken over three books from home! The funny thing is that I end up reading the ones from the library instead of my eternal to-be-read pile of books (and I regret nothing).
I hadn’t read any book written by Kristin Hannah before though, of course, I knew the author due to the popularity of The nightingale, and I had seen Firefly Lane a lot last year when it was published in Spanish, but I didn’t remember what it was about, so all of a sudden I was in need for a totally unknown-to-me story and knew this would be perfect. So I came home the first evening with the book, still sand in my hair from the beach, and started reading. An hour later, it was becoming one of the most delightful books read this year.
Firefly Lane is the name of the street where two teenage girls, Tully and Kate, first meet in 1974, when the former moves in with her mother. Tully is pretty, outgoing and independent, and Kate has no friends other than her books but has something that Tully doesn’t: a loving family that is always there for her. The two of them become best friends and the story follows these girls, first doing the same things in school and college, and then taking separated paths when they mature enough to know what their passion is.
As every relationship, Tully and Kate’s has its ups and downs, but they manage to stay together as they go through jobs, disappointments and romances. The author introduces us to the world of television journalism from Tully’s hand, so we witness how satisfying this job is for the woman in some regards – the fame, the money, the thrill of creativity – but not enough to fulfill her because she can’t keep close and stable relationships, let alone think of having her own family. On the contrary, Kate will eventually become a full-time housewife and mother and, you guess it, she is always stressed with her kids’ schedules and can’t stop thinking she hasn’t done anything special with her life. One can’t help but longing for what the other owns, not knowing how tough both their paths are.
I particularly enjoyed how the author makes you fall for Tully, as she is so vital and fascinating one just can’t get enough of her whereabouts, yet you empathize most with Kate because her life and background is as the average person’s, so you share her points of view and stand with her when something goes wrong. But, in the end, the core of the story is their loving friendship and the reader is urged to support the both of them unconditionally.
After finishing the book last Sunday, do you want to know what I did? I spent an entire hour talking to my best friend on the phone. I’m the kind of person who’d never do something like that because I always think the other person must be busy with other things more important than listening to my miseries, but recently I’ve been told that I should take the initiative and take care of my bonds to other people and, to my surprise, it has not been hard at all! This is one of those touching books that opens your heart and makes you tell your loved ones how much you appreciate them.