Thursday, December 17, 2015

How to Start a Fire

Book 62 of my 2015 Reading Challenge
read from September 9-15

How to Start a Fire by Lisa Lutz

Summary (via Goodreads)
From a bestselling writer, a story of unexpected friendship-three women thrown together in college who grow to adulthood united and divided by secrets, lies, and a single night that shaped all of them.
When UC Santa Cruz roommates Anna and Kate find passed-out Georgiana Leoni on a lawn one night, they wheel her to their dorm in a shopping cart. Twenty years later, they gather around a campfire on the lawn of a New England mansion. What happens in between-the web of wild adventures, unspoken jealousies, and sudden tragedies that alter the course of their lives-is charted with sharp wit and aching sadness in this meticulously constructed novel.
Anna, the de facto leader, is fearless and restless-moving fast to stay one step ahead of her demons. Quirky, contemplative Kate is a natural sidekick but a terrible wingman ("If you go home with him, might I suggest breathing through your mouth"). And then there's George: the most desired woman in any room, and the one most likely to leave with the worst man.
Shot through with the crackling dialogue, irresistible characters, and propulsive narrative drive that make Lutz's books so beloved, How to Start a Fire pulls us deep into Anna, Kate, and George's complicated bond and pays homage to the abiding, irrational love we share with the family we choose.

My Opinion
The author's Spellman series is one of my absolute favorites (have you read The Spellman Files yet?  I highly recommend it if you haven't) so I was eager to read this book.

Just as I expected, the writing was strong with good characters and snippets of humor throughout the book.  This is sadder and more realistic than her previous books; these girls stuck with me and Edgar and Malcolm (oh Malcolm...) stabbed my heart.

I loved the description of Katie and Edgar's personalities as "soon their conversations shifted into warring questions, because they both had more of a need to understand than to be understood".

As I started reading, I wondered if the frequent time jumps would be an issue and unfortunately yes, I had some trouble.  Every couple of pages it would skip and it wasn't just between past and present.  Just flipping from the beginning for this review, the chapters went from 2005 to 1993 to 2011 to 1999...and that's where I stopped because the example is long enough.  I've read the entire book and I'm not actually sure what the 'present' year was.

But I still really liked it and look forward to more books from the author.

Quote from the Book
"Whiskey was dinner, which was not usually the sort of thing George did. But it was Anna's whiskey, and she never saw Anna wallow. At least, not over a man. Anna had the gift of distraction, a catalog of ideas and plans. You had to be still to feel pain, and Anna never stopped moving."

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