Saturday, 12 July 2014

The Girls from Corona del Mar. A Novel.

The Girls from Corona del Mar
A novel
By Rufi Thorpe

Hardcover, 256 pages

I have barely moved since starting this novel. It grabbed me at the first sentence and never let go. I don't generally go for books labelled as Literary, Contemporary Women, or Coming of Age. They all sound boring to me. But there was something about this book that made me want to read it. And I am so glad that I did.

I have to say it is likely my favourite book  this year. And that is saying a lot. I cannot believe that this is the author's first published novel. It is brilliant in its telling and really gets you thinking about love and friendship and the bonds that we share. And also our own perspectives on the world.

It makes you think. It makes you want to call your friends and talk. And then give them a copy of this book.

In fact, I might do that right now.

From the Back Flap:

“Why did Lorrie Ann look graceful in beat-up Keds and shorts a bit too small for her? Why was it charming when she snorted from laughing too hard? Yes, we were jealous of her, and yet we did not hate her. She was never so much as teased by us, we roaming and bratty girls of Corona del Mar, thieves of corn nuts and orange soda, abusers of lip gloss and foul language.”

An astonishing debut about friendships made in youth, The Girls from Corona del Mar is a fiercely beautiful novel about how these bonds, challenged by loss, illness, parenthood, and distance, either break or endure.

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. Then a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall further—and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, brave, fair 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 honest, deeply felt novel of family, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship, The Girls from Corona del Mar asks just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends.

Rufi Thorpe

Rufi Thorpe received her MFA from the University of Virginia in 2009. She lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband and son. The Girls from Corona del Mar is her first novel.