Author: Rufi Thorpe
Publisher: Hutchinson, Penguin Random House
Hardback: 256 pages
Publication date: 14th August 2014
Where to read this book: Istanbul, I’ve never been but desperately want to, the markets and food and bustle of the city described through the eyes of Mia are enticing to say the least. Alternatively, I popped in and made the most of Sofra’s roof garden, a delightful Turkish cafe-restaurant in the heart of Covent Garden, London.
Refreshments: I had a halloumi sandwich and fresh mint tea at Sofra’s. I love halloumi (insert cheese joke here) but it has to just have come off the grill or bbq and be hot otherwise the texture is a bit like a sponge, here’s how to make your own perfect version.
Mia and Lorrie Ann are lifelong friends: hard-hearted Mia and untouchable beautiful, kind Lorrie Ann. While Mia struggles with a mother who drinks, a pregnancy at fifteen, and younger brothers she loves but can’t quite be good to, Lorrie Ann is luminous, surrounded by her close-knit family, immune to the mistakes that mar her best friend’s life. Until a sudden loss catapults Lorrie Ann into tragedy: things fall apart, and then fall apart further – and there is nothing Mia can do to help. And as good, kind, brave Lorrie Ann stops being so good, Mia begins to question just who this woman is and what that question means about them both. A novel of love, motherhood, loyalty, and the myth of the perfect friendship leading us to question how well we know those we love, what we owe our children and who we are without our friends.
This is a unique, brave and startling debut narrated by Mia whom provides the view-point and offers us an insight into hers and Lorrie Ann’s life. The chronology of their life jumps all over the place which should have made it difficult to follow but thankfully it just added greater depth to the characters and their respective life situations. Mia’s journey between past and present makes you feel like you’re a fly on the wall in a documentary and one which at times is extremely difficult to read.
The life of Lorrie Ann begins beautifully the descriptions of her family sounds idyllic without being nauseating however, as the friends come to the end of high school bad luck and demons take hold. Mia and Lorrie Ann due to their respective circumstances become separated, Mia going to university and travelling the world experiencing adventure and excitement. Lorrie Ann on the other hand stays in Corona del Mar and starts a family one which quickly becomes blighted by tragedy and sorrow.
The central theme of friendship strikes a chord and will resonate with most readers especially the focus on the longevity of friendship and the very real need to work on staying in touch. Mia and Lorrie Ann’s friendship is not one of equals, Lorrie Ann is on a pedestal in Mia’s eyes with her unwavering feeling that she isn’t a good person. This isn’t a happy story of friendship it’s a sad and dark story which will make you sit up and take notice, it will probably also make you pick up the phone and call your best friend who you may not have spoken to for a while.
A downside to the story is the ending especially the one of Lorrie Ann, it’s just slightly bizarre and not really linked to the rest of the plot. However, this doesn’t distract you from the fact that this is a highly addictive and unique debut from a very talented female writer.
Rating: 7 out of 10