It took me a while to write about Firefly Lane because Firefly Lane took me by surprise. I picked up this novel by Kristin Hannah while browsing at Barnes and Noble during our recent trip to Arizona. It would be far too much to ask of me to go on vacation without purchasing new reading material. And I did manage to finish one book, read two more, and make significant headway into a fourth this time around, making it a very successful trip indeed.
Firefly Lane begins in 1974, when the awkward country girl, Kate finds herself not only blown away but also blown right into the junior high popular crowd when new neighbor, Tully Hart moves in. Kate and Tully remain tight friends through high school, college, careers, marriage, and family. The plot is brisk, and I found myself routing for both of the main characters to their dreams in life–a challenge since it turns out what each young woman really wants is quite different, putting some expected strains on the relationship.
While I loved the images of the seventies and eighties Hannah conjured up with her ongoing descriptions of hairstyles and fashion choices, cocktails and popular songs, it’s the people who make this book worthwhile. Perhaps that’s why a plot twist late in the book both surprised and affected me. I don’t want to give too much away, but I can say that reading Firefly Lane reminded me that the unexpected can indeed happen. Friends are not something to be taken for granted, no matter how busy we become with the demands of daily life.
Unfortunately, I’ve learned this lesson too frequently of late. My friend who fights an ongoing battle with cancer received bad news this week. She’d known that her most recent scan showed renewed tumor growth, but this week she learned that she can no longer use her most recent chemotherapy protocol. She’s reached the point where it’s her options, not her tumors, that are shrinking. It breaks my heart every time I think about the possibility of losing her, but that’s an eventuality that seems to loom nearer as the months pass by. For now, I’m praying that she is able to enjoy a summer with lots of family time and that the research hospital she’s consulting next will have some alternatives for her.
Whatever her options may be, one thing is not at all optional. Her many friends and family members will continue to be there for her and her family no matter the outcome, fighting the fight with her one meal, house cleaning session, card of encouragement, or carpool trip at a time.