The Last Girls: 08/25/06
I love the cover art, the title and the concept of the book. I just wish I had actually enjoyed reading The Last Girls. I kept waiting for the story to get started but it seemed bogged down incoherent flashbacks. The only progression the book managed was the river boat's slow trip down the Mississippi to New Orleans.
There's nothing wrong with a book made up of flashbacks. Many writers have done it successfully: Nabokov's Lolita and Knowles's A Separate Peace are both good examples. Or for a more contemporary example, Fforde's Eyre Affair uses extensive flashbacks to illustrate the present day world, explaining how it came to be, thus enriching Thursday Next's story. Lee's story should do the same thing but her many flash backs never cover the adventure that brought the women together as friends. Instead her many flashbacks further divide up the characters keeping them separated into different boxes and chapters. It isn't until the very last chapter that she even attempts to explain why they have all decided to reunite for the river cruise!
Here is my BookCrossing review:
After the death of a mutual friend, a group of women take one last journey together down the Mississippi to relieve a previous adventure they had shared and of course all the memories they had built together in their youth. It sounds like a story with great potential but it just isn't carried off. Throughout the book the present and past stories compete for page space so that neither one comes off in any coherent fashion. There is no room given for character growth and the protagonist is such a pushover that she never does anything to drive the plot except to reluctantly agree to do what everyone else tells her to do!