Finished February 24
The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield
This novel is one that had me laughing and crying. The setting is Quinn, a small town in Montana, and we see things from the point of view of several characters. Rachel is a young woman who left town years before after a series of notorious behaviour climaxed with one causing her mother to throw her out. She's turned her life around, joined AA and is now in the process of making amends. Coming back to town is part of that transition for her. The recent death of her father Frank, has given her a place to live during this time. Jake is twelve and lives next door to Rachel with his mother and her boyfriend and their baby. Jake is a precocious child, with a passion for fashion, pulpy novels, rosaries, and Madonna. Frank was one of the people he related well to. Rachel's mom, Laverna, is a tough woman who owns one of the two bars in town. She also sponsors a women's baseball team, the notorious Flood Girls. Rachel is compelled to be on the team despite her lack of sports experience.
The book is rich with wonderful characters from Martha Man Hands to the two Mabels (Red and Black) to Buley, who owns the local thrift store.
Quinn is also a mining town, and a group of the regulars at Laverna's bar, the Dirty Shame, is a group of rough and rowdy lesbian miners. They are peripheral to the story, but offer an interesting background to the action.
This is a story of friendship and families, of acceptance and prejudice. A book that shows the wonder and tragedy of life.
I loved it.