the blue girl foos

The Blue Girl by Laurie Foos

The Blue Girl by Laurie FoosThe Blue Girl by Laurie Foos
Published by Coffee House Press on July 14th 2015
Source: Publisher
Pages: 220
Buy from IndieBound

 

The mothers should have jumped as soon as they saw the blue girl floating in the small town’s lake. But it was Audrey, the quiet daughter, who went after her first. In the weeks following the accident, the blue girl sits alone and silent in her room, willing and able to eat secrets the mothers bake into moon pies made to help them feel some degree of control in their increasingly unpredictable worlds.

It’s no wonder that small towns, distant teenagers, and family secrets pepper the plot lines of so many novels, as fiction parallels so many of our lives. But it can also be hard to make these stories distinct. Foos strikes a brilliant balance in acknowledging common similarities while also infusing her novel with overarching themes and big questions, all wrapped up in her fantastical blue girl.

“I remember lying on the beach that afternoon, looking at Audrey while trying at the same time not to look because I knew if she caught me she’d turn away. I remember wondering if I had been that way with my own mother once, always distant, always trying to disappear, always dismissing her, she who had held me in her womb and squeezed me out. How ungrateful we all once were, we daughters who become mothers only to learn how it feels, the endless cycle of rejection. I remember thinking about my mother that day, wishing I could tell her how sorry I was.”

The Blue Girl is told from the alternating perspectives of six narrators—three mothers and their daughters. Rather than feeling tangled, as the technique sometimes can, the different perspectives give us varied insight into the blue girl and the secrets she’s fed: a husband post-breakdown, a fragile son trapped in the mind of a child, and children sneaking off in the night. Though the oddity of baking secrets into moon pies may seem outlandish on the surface, it’s a compelling and compassionate vessel for a concept painfully familiar to many of us.

 

  • Ha -the concept of baking secrets into moon pies does sound really outlandish, but I’m glad the author made it work! I do love the quote you shared…esp the part about being grateful for your mom once you become one and realize how utterly difficult it is! I’m kind of in that place right now :)

  • How touchy-feeling is this book? I try not to judge by the covers, based on so many recent conversations, but you know… For some reason, based on your review, I’m getting “Everything I Never Told You” vibes… is that on point?

    • I hadn’t thought about the comparison, but it’s actually a really good one, at least in terms of the emotions many of the characters are going through. This is definitely less straightforward, has some elements of magical realism, but I think it’s a fair comparison. Definitely not chick lit ;)

      • I’m sold on the magical realism. That gets me every time. :)

        • Amanda

          Me too! I was trying to figure that out too. And I’m a moon pie fan so I’ll have to try this one!

  • I saw this at BEA but passed over it because books like this tend to either work really well for me, or they don’t work at all. I’m glad to hear it was good!

  • I think I’d probably like this one, Shannon; thanks so much for sharing your experience. I haven’t had a Moon Pie since my grandmother was alive (she died my freshman year of high school); she used to hoard those things like they were suddenly going to disappear from the Earth…we could never be that lucky – ha!

  • I think just the title and concept of a “blue girl” is fascinating enough to catch my interest! I think you make a good point about the concept (blue girl aside) not being terrible innovative and that the important thing in books like this being the author’s ability to go beyond the too-familiar subject-matter, which is what it sounds like the author did here!

    • I tend to be bored by many books with this premise (because I’ve read so many!), but this really adds another dimension to it and turns it into something new.

  • This sounds like such a unique take on a familiar premise, cool. I was worried when you mentioned six narrators but you set my mind at ease! :)

  • I like the sound of this. Different. One for the list.

  • This sounds amazing, and call me Plain-Jane, but I love that simple cover with nothing more than a moon pie. The six narrators might have thrown it into “not going to read it” territory, but I like how you explained it.

  • Another new look! I LIKE IT!

    Oh yeah, and this sounds GREAT. Another one for the list.

  • I love me some alternating narrators! This sounds fab!

  • Lindsey Stefan

    I am a sucker for the mother/kids angle. It sounds kind of like The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake. Have you read that one?

  • Ugh I love the cover so much. This sounds super interesting, but I just don’t know if I want to read a book about moms… not sure if I want to reflect on my relationship with my mother, but perhaps it’s worthwhile especially bc I don’t want to haha.

  • I have to read a book that can make six narrators work. The premise makes me think of Everything I Never Told You with the dead girl and the family secrets.

  • And in an odd way this sounds like THE JOY LUCK CLUB. The alternating mother/daughter narrators I suppose.

  • I love when stories told from multiple perspectives really come together. I feel like they can be particularly complex and interesting, if done well.

  • Pingback: Small Presses with Big Ideas - River City Reading()

  • Pingback: 2015's Best Books You Might Have Missed - River City Reading()