Tuesday, February 2, 2016
Book Review: The Flood Girls, Richard Fifield
*There are affiliate links throughout this post.*
Richard Fifield's debut novel is already a success in my reading circles. So many people have shared how much they loved the book, how thrilled they are to have had a chance to read it - and I, too, have a similar response to this read.
The Flood Girls is a powerful novel.
It's moving. It's gritty. It's entertaining. It's a great read. It's also disturbing in some ways.
The characters are relatable and real. They're the gritty ones. Even the ones you don't especially like? You still get them. You understand them. Maybe you've even known someone just like them. You could live across the street from that one woman or man. The one that Fifield detailed with responses from the other characters in ways beyond words.
I would say that Rachel is to be considered our main character. She's returned to town to make amends. She's not planning on sticking around - but she's drawn in just the same. Her mama, Laverna, is owner of the town bar. Laverna and Rachel have some nastiness between them and it's been a long time since they've been on good terms. I'll admit to figuring out what the final straw incident was between these two long before we learned it in the story - but that wasn't that difficult once you learn more about Rachel's reputation and her mama's anger.
Although not the primary character - Jake should have been. Or maybe he was. Because in this novel we fall head over heels for Jake and want to support this young boy with love beyond what our hearts can hold. Fifield has described Jake in ways that we learn match the author himself. A huge Jackie Collins fan, Jake uses novels and his creativity as an escape from a world that surrounds him that isn't where he wants to be. This young man has so many dreams. So many hopes. I just love this kid and the relationship that develops between Jake and Rachel. The friendship blooms as the rest of the town takes Jake under their wings.
Jake's mama, Krystal, seems pretty clueless. She hurts my heart time and again as she chooses her baby's father over her oldest child. Bert's a bit of a bastard. We're not surprised at just how awful he is as we get to know him better. We are surprised at how Krystal just stands by him. Pretty much no matter what. We want to throttle her time and again. We do not get the opportunity to do so.
Although I didn't have it completely pegged, I anticipated how this novel was going to end. And I'll admit - readers - it made me really angry. Like, I couldn't write this review right away angry. This doesn't take away from the quality of the read, not by any means, but puts it up there with Gone Girl in that when I finished reading I wanted to throw the book across the room and/or out the window. Which is high praise, I suppose. Because when people ask me about Gone Girl I tell them I LOVED the book. Loved reading it. And hated the ending.
Maybe I'm not quite that frustrated with Fifield's book. Or maybe I am. I suppose I go through stages and can't decide. But I liked it enough to tell you that it's worth the read. His writing style is an enjoyable one and I love the way we could see the community and connections through the eyes of the characters. Because Jake may have been looking out through our author's eyes, but the other characters certainly were not - and despite that - or because of it - the way he wrote them was phenomenal.
Whew. Okay. So there you have it.
The Flood Girls.
Take some time to check it out. You'll be glad - or maybe really pissed off - but eventually glad again - that you did.
* I received a copy of this book to assist me in facilitating my review. I was not compensated for this post in any way. All opinions expressed here are completely my own. As stated, there are affiliate links throughout this post. If you use them to make a book purchase I will earn a few pennies towards my next book purchase. *