Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Girls From Corona del Mar; Rufi Thorpe

Knopf - July - 2014

The Girls From Corona del Mar is a novel about friendship that spans a period of about 20 years. At the heart of the story is Mia and Lorrie Ann who meet in elementary school. Their early friendship was all fun and laughter, their teen years (mostly) typical of teen girls: sun tans, boys, shopping, and blonder hair. The girls had a lot in common despite being very different in personality and family background.

Mia's mom drinks too much and Mia resents the fact that she is left to care for her younger brothers. Where Mia is inconsiderate of others, Lorrie Ann is sweet and gentle. Lorrie Ann is also beautiful, and she seems to have the "perfect" family as well.  She's the girl in high school many of us were jealous of. She's the one you'd expect to have nothing but good luck and success follow her at every turn, but quite the opposite happens.

Mia is the one that make's something of her life. She goes off to Yale and later finds a loving partner as well. She travels to far and wide, but she never forgets the friend she made early in life.  Lorrie's life becomes a series of tragic events, one after another, and while some people are made stronger by adversity, Lorrie fell apart. Her life quickly begins to spiral out of control.  When the two meet as adults, Lorrie shows up unexpectedly,  Mia wonders if she really knew or understood her long time friend at all.

It’s a beautifully written story, with fully fleshed characters. The writing is detailed and vivid and the images created are difficult to forget. Lot's of bad things happen to some of us in life, and this is that kind of story. It's a dark and gritty and it touches on some controversial subjects like abortion, disability and drug addiction. Although this book will not appeal to everyone, those who try it will remember it long after the final page is turned.

Rebecca Lowman narrated the audio version and did a good job. 

4/5 stars 
(audio and eGalley)

20 comments:

  1. I listened to this one too and liked it a lot. Even though Mia's life appeared better on the surface, neither she nor Lorrie Ann had an easy life.

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  2. Your review has me adding it to my audio list. Thanks, Diane!

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  3. I'm already on the library hold list for this one, but think I might go the audio route instead. Thanks!

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  4. Love the sound of this one...for some reason, though, I really hate that cover! LOL

    Thanks for sharing...

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    1. See I thought the cover was appropriate for a novel set in the 50s

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  5. Somehow, your review reminds me of swimming to Elba by Sylvia Avalon which I adored. Not every girl friendship book is successful, but this one sounds good.

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    1. Never read that one, but now you've left me curious - off to check it out.

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  6. This sounds pretty wonderful. I love books centered around childhood friends.

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  7. Sounds like a well written one!

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  8. Hm, I like the idea of this. I've found that often the few golden ones from high school can't keep that shine forever. And the ones who had to work a little harder end up being more successful. Of course success means something different to everyone so who knows? Anywho, Think I'll be adding this to my list :)

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    1. I've had the same experience - Our HS valedictorian had a fully paid ride to Dartmouth , and quit after one year to live in Hawaii and drive rickshaws !

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  9. Diane, this book sounds very compelling. Terrific review!

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  10. Sounds good! I have this in audio. I'm with Laurel on the cover though - horrible. I almost passed on it until I read the description a second time.

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    1. Not sure why, but the cover art never bothered me -- for a book set in the 50's-60's the b/w seemed appropriate.

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  11. This one sounds pretty good. I'm going to have to check it out.

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  12. Definitely sounds like a thoughtful book.

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  13. I like the sound of this one. I'm curious about the relationship between the two friends and their pasts.

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