Did you know that most fireflies use their bioluminescence (fancy word for glowy butts) to attract mates, not for warning purposes? From Wikipedia :
Fireflies are a classic example of an organism that uses bioluminescence for sexual selection. They have evolved a variety of ways to communicate with mates in courtships: steady glows, flashing, as well as the use of chemical signals unrelated to photic systems. [Me: Photic systems? This is how people get lost in Wikipedia, clicking to new pages constantly, and then forgetting what they looked at in the first place.] Some species, especially lightning bugs of the genera Photinus, Photuris, and Pyractomena [There are different species?!] are distinguished by the unique courtship flash patterns emitted by flying males in search of females. In general, females of the Photinus genus do not fly, but do give a flash response to males of their own species. [Ladies get the shaft in many species, apparently.]
This has nothing to do with book reviewing except for the title but I always wondered why fireflies have glowy butts and now I know. As long as whoever wrote that page wasn’t lying. If they are, they’re really creative. And weird for lying about bugs.
The book for today is by Kristin Hannah. I had never read a book by her until I read Firefly Lane. I had heard many good things about her, but she is so ubiquitous (or so it seemed) that I kind of resisted reading her books. (Just like my resistance to Harry Potter that just ended about 2 weeks ago. I’m in love.)
When I scanned through my nook for titles by Kristin Hannah, this one stuck out to me the most. I’m a sucker for friendship stories (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, anyone??) and this one seemed pretty decent. It was definitely beyond decent. And surprising.
The book centers around Kate and Talullah “Tully” who become best friends in middle school. Kate is the shy, nerdy, intelligent girl and Tully is the exotic, daring, beautiful new girl in town. (Anyone want to guess which one I relate to?) Their friendship, as most friendships seem to be in friendship stories, is unlikely but it works. Tully has a hippie for a mother who comes in and out of her life (“Cloud”) and Kate has the perfect nuclear family. Both, naturally, are jealous of each others’ lives. (Well, I wouldn’t go as far to say that Kate is jealous that Tully has a kooky, dazed-and-confused mother, but she’s jealous can do and wear whatever she wants with no parental supervision.)
The books spans their childhood, growing up on Firefly Lane, to middle aged adulthood. Normally a book that covers that much ground would be choppy or even long-winded, but this book is not. It flows perfectly and you don’t feel as though you’re missing any pieces. Tully and Kate both have goals to become reporters, a la Diane Sawyer, but Tully is the one with the passion for it. She will stop at nothing to get to her goal. I am mega envious of anyone with a passion that strong. I’m just going to blame my perfectionism for my lack of passion.
Kate and Tully have tumultuous periods, like any friends do, and Tully definitely has the stronger personality of the two. You will wind up, if you relate to Kate like I do, feeling angry at Tully for being selfish, but feeling pity for her as well. If you relate to Tully, you feel angry at Kate for letting Tully walk all over her (stand up for yourself, girlfriend!), but feel pity for her as well because she never quite seems to get what she wants like Tully does. Actually, I don’t think you need to relate to either/or to feel that way. Both of them made me mad and sad at the same time.
The overall theme of this book is obviously friendship, but also going after what you want in life and not apologizing for it. (Does anyone else notice a theme in all the books I review? I certainly have.) You’ll find out what Kate’s real passion in life is, and maybe you won’t understand. I did and didn’t. You’ll want Tully to settle down, but you’ll want Kate to stop being so settled. This book was about life and learning to live it. It’s also about the unexpected turns that happen in everyone’s lives. You can’t plan for everything. And it may or may not have a happy ending. Or maybe it has a teary ending. Or maybe it has a choke-on-your-own-sobs, ugly cry ending. (I have never looked ugly while crying. Nope.) You’ll just have to read it and find out.
Before you read it though, you probably should watch this video. Don’t worry, it’s sort of about reading…
Told you books and cats are two of my only passions. I can feel you judging. Stop.