Sunday, 12 October 2014

Guest Book Review: Rufi Thorpe - The Girls from Corona Del Mar

Reviewed by Janine Cobain 

Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchably beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can’t quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend’s life. Then a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall further—and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, brave, fair Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is, and what that question means about them both. 

A staggeringly honest, deeply felt novel of family, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship, The Girls from Corona del Mar asks just how well we know those we love, what we owe our children, and who we are without our friends. 

Amazon links: Kindle or Paperback

The Girls From Corona del Mar is an intriguing story of two women, and their friendship from its inception as children into adulthood. Mia and Lorrie Ann are very different – as good friends often are – and their relationship is believable; Mia is the hard-nosed, damaged type – the ‘bad’ one, Lorrie Ann the beauty-blessed, angelic ‘good’ one. As the girls grow, and begin to venture beyond their hometown, life happens, in that unfathomable way it often does. Those who are ‘bad’ go from strength to strength, and those that are ‘good’ befall tragedy after tragedy.

From a personal perspective, I didn’t take to Mia; she often came across as selfish and judgemental. While the story was written from her point of view, the main subject matter was Lorrie Ann’s life, and I feel the book may have been more engaging, and evoked more sympathy, if it were written from her perspective. In the early part of the book, the author seemed to be trying to shock a little – a puppy’s mouth was likened to a part of the female anatomy and it came across as uncouth, and unnecessary – almost tacky.

This story deals with some very emotive issues; underage sex, abortion, parental neglect, drug abuse and destructive relationships, the strain of looking after a disabled child and the consequences for a lone parent who can no longer cope – this is by no means a light read!

I think this is one of those books that will divide people; if you are a fan of the Americanised writing style, this book will likely grip you, however I find often find with that style – usually due to the editing – characters can seem lacking in the ‘human’ element that allows us to feel their story, rather than just read it.

I'd like to thank Chloe at Cornerstone Publishing for sending a copy of this book to Janine to review and Janine for her honest review.

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