Thursday, May 16, 2013

Book Review: Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (no spoilers)

Book: Firefly Lane
Author: Kristin Hannah
Series: Firefly Lane Book 1
Publication: 2008
Source: Local Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads):
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.

So begins Kristin Hannah’s magnificent new 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, 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 Thoughts:

The first thing the librarian said to me when I came to pick up this book was "This book looks well loved." I couldn't help, but agree. The corners were bent and the paperback cover looked like something had been spilled on it. There is a small tear on the back cover and the back cover is bent. It wasn't until I started reading Firefly Lane that I realized why this book was so beat up. This book deserves to be read and this book had a very good reason why it was loved. From the very first page of Firefly Lane I knew I was in for an emotional ride. Kristin Hannah didn't disappoint.

Firefly Lane is primarily about friendship, but it has the underlying theme of abuse, abandonment  conformity, dreams, hope, jealousy, regrets, foreignness, love, family, and betrayal. This book had way more to offer in themes than most books do. This book had the unique ability to make me laugh and cry. I don't know where to start because this book was so beautifully written and so raw and emotional.

I'll start with friendship. Kate reminds me of myself in a lot of ways that she was quiet and she turned to books as her safety net. That is until the day Tully moved in. To Kate Tully always seemed unreachable until something bad happens to Tully and Kate is there to be her shoulder to cry on and an ear to listen. From then on TullyandKate were said as one word because they were inseparable.

Tully was abandoned by her mother and that has hurt her in many ways. I think it made Tully as a character hard to understand because you didn't exactly know the reason for the things she did. Underneath that Tully is a dreamer. She holds on to dreams tightly and doesn't let go. Tully had high hopes and many fantasies. She wasn't giving up until her dreams were completed.

Kate's dreams were a bit more simple and normal. She wanted to be a wife and a mother. Kate wanted to be as great a mom as her mom is. Kate doesn't know how much being a mother will change her and how many hurdles she will have to jump over in life.

Tully and Kate remain friends through more than 30 years, but their friendship was not without difficulties. They have real life problems. They have fights that are just apart of being human. That is what made this novel feel real is that their life wasn't perfect. Kate and Tully had flaws. When they were going through hard times they were always there for each other..  That is the type of friendship I hope to find.

One act of betrayal changed everything for Kate and Tully. It was because of this act that they missed out on many important events in each other lives. That is where the regret comes in. That is when they start to realize they can't get those moments back. Kate began to say at one point "The past is gone we can only move forward."

I really loved what a big part music played in this novel. I listen to Abba and I love their songs. It was so great to see them be a part of Firefly Lane. Music is a way for memories and that is how it was for Tully and Kate. They would pop in a CD from the 80s and be transported back to the time. The time of their youth.

Firefly Lane is a deeply personal story for Kristin Hannah who after 10 years of writing wrote her first author's note. Kristin Hannah lost her mother to breast cancer, she grew up in the seventies, and listened to the songs that Tully and Kate love. I think that is why Firefly Lane is such a emotional novel is because it was written straight from the heart. Firefly Lane is one of the most amazing books I have ever read. I was so touched by this book that words can't even explain my feelings. In a lot of ways this book reminded me of my own life. My own friendships that haven't worked out. I would guess that every person who has read this book could pick out one moment that they could relate back to their own lives. I highly recommend this book. It has been an amazing, emotional ride. I can't wait to read the squeal Fly Away.

Memorable Moment
When life got tough for Kate and Tully they transported themselves back into a world where they were young and carefree. Where KateandTully was just one word and back to a time they were known as the Firefly Lane girls.

Thanks for reading. If you have read the book I have a discussion post up.



  1. Every time I read one of her books I cry so bad my son and husband become afraid of me. I have this on my nook and hope to read it soon, it sounds like she offered up complex characters, lovely review!

    1. Thank you so much for the comment Kimba. The only other book I have read by Hannah is Night Road although I liked Night Road I did read it over two years ago and can't remember many details. Firefly Lane became a quick favorite for me. This book just touched me in so many ways I can't explain and I felt deeply connected to the characters and their lives.


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