Disclaimer: This book was sent to me free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Amazon)
When her hometown newspaper reviews Hannah O’Brien’s newly released novel, the nature of her book is called into question when the reviewer suggests it is a memoir depicting her neglectful alcoholic mother – Keeley O’Brien Cohen, the most beloved of the Barefoot Girls – a little too accurately for fiction, citing rumors rather than sources.
Deeply hurt and betrayed, Keeley cuts Hannah out of her life. Desperate, Hannah does everything she can to apologize and explain, but her pleas fall on deaf ears. Meanwhile, the rest of Hannah’s life starts to unravel, pushing her to risk her engagement to Daniel, the one man who had been able to scale the high walls around her heart. At the eleventh hour, the Barefoot Girls are able to convince Keeley to send Hannah the keys to the Barefooter house, the home and heart of their friendship. Barred from their clubhouse since she was twelve, Hannah grabs the chance to visit the little shack filled with memories and perched at the tip of Captain’s Island in the Great South Bay on Long Island, New York.
As Hannah battles to come to terms with her equally blessed and troubled childhood and understand her mother and her sister-close friends, she’s confronted with the power of forgiveness and the dangers of holding on to the past.
At first I was a little unsure about whether or not to accept this book is I’m completely honest. The author described Barefoot Girls as woman’s literature which pretty much sent off chick-lit sirens in my head. It’s not that I don’t like chick-lit exactly, but it does tend to be rather formulaic and predictable which does give a bit of a trashy air. I do read chick-lit but only very occasionally, usually when I want something easy to read, something I don’t want to have to concentrate on. The synopsis of Barefoot Girls didn’t really sound like your stereotypical chick-lit however, but it still seemed like it would share chick-lit’s easy readability. That’s why I accepted it. It’s also why I read it when I did, after 1Q84 I wanted something easy to read.
Having read it now though I think maybe that calling it chick-lit does it a bit of a disservice. It certainly has elements of your stereotypical chick-lit. There’s a love interest and a related problem (although it’s one that really related to a more serious side of the novel, which makes it more than a stereotypical love story), it’s easy to read- the language isn’t too complex- it’s generally speaking plot driven, it’s focused around women, all pretty much things you would expect from chick-lit. However there’s a more emotional element which can sometimes be found in the better chick-lit, chick-lit with brains I like to call it. There’s a mystery element of the type you find in more general contemporary fiction and which keeps you guessing. There’s a certain crime element too which adds an extra plot line.
Overall I did like it. Certainly I like Hannah, one of the main characters, and Zoeey. I think possibly I was meant to like Keeley more, but I just couldn’t connect to her, and Amy kind of grated on me. Seeing as it was essentially a book about friendship however I did like their friendship and how it was depicted, although there was a certain element of wondering how they remained friends, especially as some of the scenes where you saw one of the characters on their own didn’t seem to fit with the way they were when they were together. Maybe that just showing the things friendship bring out in a person though?
I like the mystery element as well, and how that mystery effected the characters- especially Hannah. I must admit however I guessed the twist long before it was revealed- although I kept wondering how it came about.
The only thing I didn’t really like was the Rose storyline. It seemed a bit pointless and rather than feeling dramatic it really just made me feel sorry for Rose. I didn’t really think it was needed- it felt almost as if McTiernan added it just for a bit of action.