Girls in Trucks

by

Author: Katie Crouch

Title: Girls in Trucks

Genre: Women’s Lives and Relationships

Publication Date: 2008

Number of Pages: 241

Geographical Setting: Charleston, SC/New York City, NY

Time Period: The main character’s life, from childhood to present day.

Plot Summary: It’s hard to be a southern belle in a non-debutant world.  Sarah Walters grew up in Charleston, SC, born into one of the most prestigious Southern women’s society: the Camellias.  Along with the three other Camellias from her generation: Elizabeth (Bitsy), Charlotte, and Annie, Sarah does all the right things to be part of the antiquated Charleston society while trying to find her place in the world.  But in today’s society, Sarah’s training and upbringing aren’t enough to keep her within the confines of her small southern world, so she rebels against the strict societal rules of Charleston and runs away to New York City.

But Sarah soon learns that the southern rules that have governed her upbringing do not apply in the harsh world of the city, and the promise of a new life is not always as fulfilling as it seems.  She and the Camellias come-of-age as they sink into their respective addictions; Sarah, an abusive relationship, Charlotte, alcohol and substance abuse, Bitsy, an unhealthy marriage with an adulterous man, and Annie, a warped relationship with a man obsessed with painting.  As Sarah continues into unhealthy relationships with men and friends, family circumstances call her back to Charleston.

As Sarah faces family tragedy and discovers the deep secrets of her childhood, she learns that the adage ‘once a Camellia, always a Camellia’ will always run true.  Men will always let down the Camellias, but together the four women rediscover how their Camellia bond will always run deeper than failed relationships.

Subject Headings: City life, Debutantes, Women — Southern States, Rich women, Culture conflict, Coming-of-age stories, Domestic fiction

Appeal Terms: engaging, introspective, well-developed, insightful, interior, thought-provoking, episodic, sexually explicit, contemporary, emotionally-charged, evocative, nostalgic, character-centered, complex, conversational, thoughtful, unpretentious, accessible, bittersweet, earnest

Three Terms to describe this Book: Coming-of-age story, Southern women and their lives, Introspective look on friendships

Fiction:

Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen: A Novel, by Susan Gregg Gilmore: A coming-of-age story about a Georgia girl who tries to leave her Southern home but is pulled back due to family tragedy. Gilmore shows that discovering that the place you run from is often the place that is truly home.

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, by Rebecca Wells: The story of how damaged Siddalee Walker, who outs her Southern family’s deepest, darkest secrets in a very public way, grows to understand her complicated mother.  A story of love and friendship that shows what happens in our past not only shapes ourselves, but those we love most.

Bound South, by Rebecca White: A story with three different female perspectives, White shows the complicated relationships between mothers and daughters, and how the Southern way of life shapes each woman as they try to find themselves in the changing world.

Nonfiction:

Debutante: Rites and Regalia of American Debdom, by Karal Ann Marling: Marling shows the growth of the debutante in America from the 1700s until present day. She examines each aspect of being a Deb, from the clothes, to the society, to the mother/daughter Deb relationship.

We’re Just Like You, Only Prettier: Confessions of a Tarnished Southern Belle, by Celia Rivenbark: A collection of essays that examine the ins and outs of being a woman from a Southern perspective.

The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women’s True-Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out, or Faded Away, edited by Jenny Offill and Elissa Schappell: An examination of friendships and why some last forever, and some simply fade with time.

Name: Jessica Coates

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