Sunday, 9 November 2014

The Girls from Corona del Mar by Rufi Thorpe

"Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. 

While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can't quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend's life. 

Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall apart further – and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both.

A staggeringly arresting, honest novel of love, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship that moves us to ask ourselves just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends."

The Girls from Corona del Mar is a story of lifelong friendship, and the challenges and changes that friendship endures as girls grow up into women, life becomes more and more real and those friends are separated by a literal and psychological distance.

The whole story is told by Mia in a first person omniscient way so that sometimes she is recalling a history which she took part in and sometimes she is recalling Lorrie Ann's history, regardless of whether she was there or not. Thorpe does a fabulous job of weaving the two women's lives together into one solid narrative that does not ever seem to break the thread despite jumping back and forth and side to side.

I found some parts of the book quite difficult to read, and especially the difficulties experienced during childbirth.  

It was not quite what I had expected, it is far more serious featuring alcohol, drugs, abortion, childbirth and motherhood.  This book is not a fairytale; it is heartbreaking and real.  A book for grown ups.

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