I recently read Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch (not to be confused with Riding in Cars with Boys) – well, I listened to it, anyway. I’ve gotten really into audiobooks since winter; they’ve made my commute to work daily and Boston semi-weekendly much more enjoyable. I can only handle hearing so much Pink and Lifehouse and the other generic easy-listening rock/pop “artists” that dominate what feels like 3/5th of stations, especially when we can only listen to light rock at work as well.
Anyway, Girls in Trucks – I chose it because of its title and its cover. I know you’re not supposed to judge a book (or audiobook, in this case) by its cover, of course, but we all know that cover art is absolutely essential and a huge industry in and of itself. I also chose it because it promised to be about a group of girls in their 20’s and early 30’s, which is an age group sorely overlooked in my opinion. There are only about a billion books that come out every year about angsty, lovelorn teenagers with parental/drug/sex abuse issues, and about two billion more than come out about 40+ year old feisty cougars and/or downtrodden divorcees who are reunited with their long-lost high school reformed-bad-boy beaus while summering on Cape Cod or after moving to New York City. Both have their place on the shelves, but I just can’t relate to the latter very well yet – gimme another 15 years. Til then, I’ll scour the shelves and the web looking for books about girls like me, or girls who at least have something in common with me, even if it’s just a number like age, to read about in my non-existent spare time.
Since that was the extent of my criteria, I can’t say that Girls in Trucks didn’t meet it. The girls were my age, at least for the bulk of the novel, so I was able to relate to certain common experiences associated with being a 20-something, and because it was about a group of modern southern debutantes, I was also able to expand my literary horizons somewhat and learn some new things about that way of life. It was not, however, a masterpiece by any stretch of the imagination. It’s a debut novel, and as Keira Knightley’s character in the film Last Night (which I watched (and enjoyed) this weekend with my cousin, while stuffing our faces with ice cream and cupcakes) reflects: “You live with your first book your whole life.” A debut novel can either be amazing, because the author has put everything they’ve got into it (which tends to have an unfortunate effect on all following novels), or they can wreak of amateaurism and awkwardness. Girls in Trucks falls into the second category in my opinion, and it was anything but aided by the abismal narration – and what made it even worse was that it was narrated by the author herself! She sounded as though she had no connection to the characters or storyline at all, and it made it really difficult for me to get invested. Maybe if I had read it rather than listened to it, I would have had a different reaction – the plot isn’t terrible, and the characters have the right ingredients. Crouch just didn’t seem to adhere to any specific measurements or baking instructions, and she took them out of the oven before they had turned golden brown.
Yes, I love food, and no, this will probably not be the last time I compare reading/writing to eating/cooking.
Oh, content. You’d probaby like to know what it’s about. Sarah Walters is a reluctant modern-day southern debutante who grows up in South Carolina, escapes to the East Coast for college, and starts her adult life in New York City, where she engages in a string of self-destructive events and relationships that could be considered empty at best, and abusive at worst. Along the way, you’re also introduced to her Eloise, Sarah’s vibrant older sister, and her three fellow debutantes, Charlotte, Bitsy, and Annie, who are as different from each other as they are from her apart from their shared past at the Cotillion Training School – Annie follows the life of a typical debutante as best she can despite not always looking the part, Charlotte becomes a substance-addled fashion designer, and Bitsy marries for money, which gives her everything and nothing that she ever wanted.
I wouldn’t outright discourage anyone from reading Girls in Trucks; it’s a good spring/summer mindless read, and it may resonate wonderfully with someone else. Just don’t listen to it.
Up next is an audiobook version of Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin, at the suggestion of one of my best girlfriends – plus, the movie is coming out this weekend, so I feel as though said girlfriend is probably going to want to see it at some point, and I want to be prepared.
I also snagged a copy of The Doctor and the Diva by Adrienne McDonnell, so I’m not sure which one I’ll finish and review here first – oh, the wild life I lead. Oh, and I say “snagged” because it was on a cart full of other books that Dr. Eaton, my Collection Development professor (and also head of the URI GSLIS program), had weeded from her personal collection and offered to us. Although I actually really enjoyed the class, getting that book was one of the few perks about being stuck inside on a beautiful Saturday morning. That, and the pizza party that followed.
I cannot say this enough: I like to read, and I love food.