The Blue Girl by Laurie Foos

I expected The Blue Girl to be weird and whimsical, to give life to some of the magical possibilities that lie dormant just under the surface of our everyday.  I did not expect it to be sad.  But it was.  Sad and weird and whimsical.  All.

The Blue Girl is about so much.  It is about a blue girl that most of the town doesn’t believe exists.  A blue girl who eats secrets baked into moon pies.  It is also about mothers and daughters and their inability to connect with one another, about the pain of adolescence, about emotionally distant husbands and fathers, about brothers who need to be cared for.  Most of all it is about the feeling that we’ve all felt at some point, that life started out full of possibility, but one by one those possibilities fell away until there is only one unsatisfactory possibility remaining.

In a small lake town that caters to tourists for one season out of the year and where nothing much ever happens during the other three, something magical happens and maybe, just maybe, creates some new possibilities for the women and girls in three families.

Things I liked about this book:

  • The story contains magical elements, but it is in all other ways realistic and the blue girl’s appearance in the lives of the characters is unsettling to them.  They treat her with a wary reverence that feels like a reasonable response to the emergence of something supernatural in their otherwise ordinary lives.
  • The chapters are told by each of the women and girls in the story alternating between mother and daughter. This book is (not subtly at all) about the mother-daughter relationship.  Having the story told in generational order was neat.
  • The men were secondary.  I needed this right now.  Not sure why.

Things I didn’t like about this book:

  • I am not a genetics expert, but there was a statement about genetics that was so glaringly untrue that it disrupted my suspension of disbelief.  It may seem silly that I am okay with baking secrets into moonpies, but not okay with the author not knowing that for a boy child the x chromosome has to come from the mother, but I’m not okay with it.  sorry.
  • The voice didn’t change enough from character to character.  It wasn’t confusing at all, but I felt like Foos could have done a little more to distinguish the characters from one another.  Especially the daughters.  If there is an audiobook, I hope it is a multicast recording.

Overall, there was much more to like than not.  This is the first book I have read by Laurie Foos, but it won’t be the last. The sadness spoke to me.

In other news… This was my very first ever eBook experience.  I know that the rest of the world has been reading books on kindles and tablets n’at for years, but I am always a little slow to pick up new technology and I do so love the feel of a paper book in my hands.  I liked this too though!

Next up for the kindle:  The Orphan Master’s Son, by Adam Johnson

Next up for real books: North American Lake Monsters, but Nathan Ballingrud (I requested that my library purchase this book as it was not in their collection – super excited to read it.)

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