I've been meaning to read Wild Girls since it came out -- I remember that People I Trust loved it, and that there was a minor kerfuffle about a mediocre review somewhere and I remember putting it on my list. Then my library never bought it and I promptly forgot about it. (The dangers of a much-too-long TBR list.)
Yesterday, as I was checking an ILL in, I realized that I held it in my hands. It was already overdue, but the ILL delivery had already gone out, so the earliest it could go back would be on Tuesday, so OBVIOUSLY it was meant to be.
None of that has anything to do with the book. But Wild Girls kind of messed me up, so I'm postponing what I suspect will be a big ramble by, um, rambling.
It's about two girls. It begins:
I met the Queen of the Foxes in 1972, when my family moved from Connecticut to California.
The narrator is Joan. The Queen of the Foxes is Sarah, or as she calls herself, Fox. It's set in 1972, as you may have deduced, and while there aren't a bunch of unnecessary details To Let The Reader Know It's The 70s, it feels very seventies. Which is cool.
For some reason, I can't really do the synopsis thing here. I think it's because, as I said, it messed me up. In terms of actual plot, actual happenings, it's a very simple story, and Pat Murphy uses very clear and simple language to tell it.
Beyond and beneath that simple plot, it's also a story about families falling apart, about families tearing themselves apart, about people losing themselves and finding themselves again, about finding ways of figuring life out and creating family. It's about, as Joan would say, the subtext. And it's about writing. And the whole book rings clear and true. Regardless of whether it's fiction or not, it's one that rings so true that I'm getting all choked up again. I believed in the girls, and I believed in the parents, and while Joan and Fox were the focus, the adult characters were so real that this book could have been about them instead.
It's one I wish I'd had in fifth grade.
Heck, I wish I'd had it in college.
Previous Challenge Books: