Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Last Girls by Lee Smith




On a beautiful June day in 1965, a dozen girls - classmates at a picturesque Blue Ridge women's college - launched their homemade raft on a trip down the Mississippi.

Thirty-five years later, four of those "girls" reunite to cruise the river again. This time, when hey reach New Orleans, they'll gie the river the ashes of a fifth rafter- beautiful Margaret "Baby" Ballou. Revered for her powerful female characters, Lee Smith tells a brilliantly perceptive story of how college pals who grew up in an era when they were still called "girls" have negotiated life as women. Harriet Holding is a hesitant teacher who has never married (she can't explain why, even to herself). Courtney Gray struggles to escape her Southern Living lifestyle. Catherine Wilson, a sculptor, is suffocating in her happy third marriage. Anna Todd is a world-famous romance novelist escaping her own tragedies through her fiction. And finally there is Baby, the girl they came to bury -along with their memories of her rebellions and betrayals.

I have one word for you: shocker! Like I said, I did NOT have high expectations for this book! Boy was I WRONG. This is now one of my favorite books ever! Lets start off with the characters, Ms. Lee Smith, I commend you, boy do you know how to right a strong female character! All of the characters I could distinctly connect with and feel exactly what they were feeling. I have to say my favorite characters were Baby and Anna. Smith writes her characters so strongly, I was intoxicated by the presence of Baby, just like the other characters were. If I had a girl crush, it'd be on Baby. She was one of those feisty characters who seemed like they had the perfect "whatever" attitude and didn't give a crap what anyone else said, yet she had feelings too. You could feel her pain and happiness, and even I, the reader, could feel her electricity. And then there's Anna, the used-to-be aspiring writer, now gone big time. She had confidence and felt beautiful and sexy, the way every girl wants to feel. But the characters weren't the only parts I loved, I also loved the whole concept of the story, and the beautiful way Smith told it. When smith delved into the characters past, you could feel their pain and happiness, I was laughing and crying along with them. ANd even though there was no love interest at first, it was AMAZING when the guy first came in! Again, you could feel the characters' grief and happiness as they went through the ups and downs of a relationship. This book is BEAUTIFUL. It's all about love, friendship, confidence, everything that matters in life! \



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