Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, April 14, 2008

Take a ride on the wild at heart side with Girls In Trucks

Sarah Walters,like most of her friends from childhood such as Charlotte,Annie and Bitsy,was given most of her instructions on how to deal with life from the Camellia Society,a social institution that all of their mothers belonged to.

The Camellias are the standard bearers for polite society and old school decorum in Charleston,and young ladies train to be debutantes by starting off in Cotillion Training School by the age of nine,where dancing classes are given(but don't ask to learn the Shag!)and lectures on manners were expected to prepare you for the adult world.

Certain things,however,were just not covered by Camellias,such as wanting to hang out with country boys in their big bold trucks,having your obnoxious older sister get even more moody and distant while she attends college up North and adjusting to the whirlwind pace of New York yourself,as you seek higher education and a career.

It's also hard to find the right Camellia stance on relationship troubles as well,like knowing when to leave an unwilling to commit boyfriend or an emotional abusive one. Sarah and her friends have to stumble thru such challenges of the heart as adultery,divorce and helping family members pick up the pieces after tragedy strikes home.

Girls In Trucks is Katie Crouch's debut novel and it is written as a series of interconnected short stories. I'm not always a fan of that type of storytelling but when it works,it works,folks.

Crouch skillfully weaves together a cohesive narrative that chronicles the journey that her leading lady takes(along with generous asides to many of the supporting players)without missing a beat or dropping a link from one chapter to the next.

Girls In Trucks is also a loving tribute to strong Southern women,while recognizing their perfectly human flaws and follies as they cope with whatever curve balls that the modern world(not to mention life in general)tosses in their path. And yes,even a Yankee gal like myself can identify with the Camellias. One thing that all women share from all walks of life is the need to readjust those old codes of conduct and keep everything together when times get tough. For some,it's a practically an art form.

The book is now available everywhere,and I'm sure that many reading groups will be anxious to add it to their Spring reading lists. Katie Crouch makes a wonderful literary debut here and this will definitely not be the last that we see or hear from her,indeed:

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