Do you know how much I love LibraryThing? A very lot. Not only can you catalogue things, and find similar libraries to your own, and rate and review books, but you can also sign up to receive occasional advance copies of books in the mail, yours for a review. This past month I received a copy of Kristin Hannah’s soon-to-be-released novel, Firefly Lane. It’s officially being released tomorrow (Feb 5 2008).
Since I wrote a review on LibraryThing already, I am reposting it here. If you don’t want to read the whole book, here is a summary of the review: this book is no good. As for the details, here is my complete review:
This book will probably become a best-seller, which is unfortunate because it isn’t very good. I received an advance copy from the LibraryThing Early Reviews, and that is probably the only reason I was able to finish it. I would not recommend this book to anyone. There are much better works in this genre: don’t waste your time here.
The writing was contrived and amateurish. The author threw in an extreme number of gratuitous brand names and other irrelevant details, perhaps to thoroughly establish the narrative in the appropriate timeline. This was more irritating than effective. The author also shows a great penchant for semi-colons, which would have been annoying enough even if they were used correctly.
The two main characters, Kate and Tully, are followed by the narrative from their early teenagehood in the 1970s up until the present day. Although their ages and circumstances change, both characters are written as if they are perpetual fourteen-year-olds: petulant, immature, overly-dramatic, and not really the “best friends” they’re supposed to be. I had a distinctly hard time liking either of them.
The ending of this book is contrived, manipulative, hackneyed, and cliché. To save you from needing to read to the end, here is the point of the book: ladies, any change in your breasts should be reported to your doctor, because you might have cancer even if you don’t have lumps. Also: best friends, good times, bad times, blah blah blah. It’s not really worth the effort.
Are there good things about this book? Well, it’s a quick read for almost 500 pages. And the cover is nice. But other than that, I can’t think of much.
Near the end of the novel, Kate is attempting to write a book. The narrator comments that “she tried to come up with a better way to say it, but only more clichés came to her.” (p. 386). Perhaps this was the author’s problem as well.