I've given this a two star review on Goodreads only because I can't do halves. Really, this is a two and a half starred review ONLY because the last few chapters allowed it to be. Otherwise, BLAH. BLAH.BLAH.
This edition of The Girls From The Five Great Valleys is one in a series of books offered by Book Lust Rediscoveries, which is devoted to reprinting novels originally published from 1960-2000. Nancy Pearl, NPR commentator and Book Lust author, selected each book and each includes an introduction, discussion questions for book groups, and a list of further recommended reading. I was given an ARC courtesy of Goodreads.
Originally published in 1977-78, The Girls From The Five Great Valleys setting takes place in 1930's Missoula, Montana. Obviously, the story revolves around five girls who are friends, on the cusp of womanhood and led by the well meaning, Hillary Hunter. Hillary has placed herself in charge of making sure each girl abides by a strict set of Missoula moral codes. After all, it is important that one associate with the proper people, attend the proper parties, dress a certain way IF one is to get into the right sorority and clubs so one may marry the proper person, build the perfect home in the just-right-Baby Bear neighborhood. Honestly, this book described what life may have been like (or was like) back in the day, in a small town. BUT it could've been talking about ANYWHERE Small Town, USA and still there was nothing interesting happening in this novel until those last chapters I mentioned earlier. I wanted to yank my hair out. It was rather boring and if there's one thing I cannot stand it's an uppity, cliche group of girls thinking themselves better than everyone else and looking down their snooty noses, defining what is right and acceptable in Small Town, USA. Again, that's about the sum of it. One girl went on a date with the wrong boy, accepted a ride home with a boy that was supposed to be the right guy but just ended up being wrong, too, and another girl has to take care of her lazy, mean father and brother. The girls are supposed to be the greatest of friends but only manage to gripe and whine on the two occasions the author puts them all together. The most interesting plotline revolves around Amelia Lacey and her beautiful, flawed mother, Anne. I don't know. This story was told in the most boring way imaginable. Half the time, the narrator would speak of one thing and suddenly hop to something even less important. Not to mention, there was a lot of insignificant verses from poems and song that had me thinking, WHAT?! Then, it just kind of ended...right when I thought it began.
Can I just say that I felt like I had read a book NOT about girls from five great anything but about lots of boring lives in Missoula, Montana and a sort of handbook from the 1930's on how to be a snob. In Missoula, Montana. I never forged any type of relationship with the characters. But I do know a lot about nothing now. I guess.