The Last Girls (Hardcover) Review

The Last GirlsCan events experienced early in women's lives really have an effect, either constructive or noxious, on the rest of their lives?This is the primary question address by author Lee Smith in her novel The Last Girls.

In 1966, five Southern college "girls" take a rafting trip down the Mississippi River.Now, 30 years later, they have come together once again to re-enact that fateful trip.The primary difference is that on this trip their mode of transportation is a luxurious steamboat and their primary reason for coming together is to journey to New Orleans and scatter the ashes of one of their fellow rafters, "Baby".As the steamboat trip progresses each "girl" (Harriet, Courtney, Catherine and Anna) reminisces about their days at college, the choices they have made over the ensuing years, and the influence Baby has had on each of their lives right down to the dreams they have either pursued or abandoned.

The raft trip appears to be a metaphor for the trip of discovery that each of us experiences as we "sail" through life, complete with the detours taken in an attempt to avoid crashing on the rocks, the effects of a rough trip on our perceptions, and the enjoyment experienced during those periods of smooth sailing.

Lee Smith has managed to capture the essence of what many women experience as they grow older. At some point each one of us explores thememories that have been tempered by time, revisits all of our youthful desires as well as acknowledging the compromises we've made, have accepted the reality of life while continuing to enjoy the fantasy world of romance novels, and ultimately we have searched for an answer to the question of the relevance of our lives.

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