Sunday, August 23, 2009

Girls in Trucks - Katie Crouch

girls in trucks
katie crouch
c. 2008
256 pages
completed 8/15/2009

read for: southern reading challenge

*may contain spoilers*

Sarah and her three friends, Charlotte, Bitsy, and Annie have known each other since their days of Cotillion training during grade school. Even as they grow into different people and move away to different lives, they stay connected through the bonds of the Camellias, a social club they were born into back in Charleston.

I had mixed feelings about this book. Of the things I did enjoy, what stands out is the writing style. The book was kind of written episodically, where each chapter had it's own mini story line that had a beginning, middle, and end. And then the next chapter didn't necessarily pick up where the last one left off. For example, the first chapter introduces us to Sarah and her friends and the importance of the Camellias. We're also introduced to Sarah's cousin and we see the relationship between Sarah and her cousin (I wanna say his name was Ted...I don't have the book in front of me so I'm not 100% positive) evolve until it ends with his untimely death during Sarah's first year of college. Chapter two, which introduces us to Sarah's sister Eloise begins when she and Sarah are still in high school together. So there were some time jumps that I found interesting.

I also really enjoyed the humor infused in the prose of the books. Not necessarily the humor of the story (I think there were several events I was supposed to find funny, but really they just caused me to decide I didn't think I would be friends with this girl), but the humor of the writing. My favorite line describes Sarah and her friends' move to New York for college, "It took us a while to shed our Southern ways, but after a few months we figured out that one's natural height should not be enhanced by one's bangs." I just wish I enjoyed the story as much as I enjoyed the author's voice.

I had high expectations for some reason, and they were never really met. Things started off well. I enjoyed the description of Cotillion training, and Sarah and her sister Eloise's relationship in high school, but once Sarah got to college things started deteriorating. For one thing, these four "friends" didn't really like each other. They only stayed connected because of the power of the Camellias, but they never managed to really make any other real friends. Sarah turned into the epitome of our stereotypically apathetic generation, seemingly caring about nothing except finding a man to make her feel worthwhile. I know this is a common complaint of mine, lack of likable characters. And I know that likable people aren't the only ones who deserve to have their stories told, but I feel that a protagonist needs to have at least something about them that causes me to root for them. And on this front, Sarah was severely lacking.


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