Julia's Reviews > Girls in Trucks

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch
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's review
Jan 03, 2010

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bookshelves: 2010-list

Living abroad, I'm plenty nostalgic for stories of my hometown and the area where I grew up. Recognizing Katie from our childhood choir made this a must read. For once, the writing and the details of Charleston and the lowcountry didn't disappoint (finally, someone who knows that mosquitos and pluff mud go hand in hand with "romantic" marsh views!).

About the book though - Girls in Trucks is marketed as a novel, but it feels more like a collection of short stories in chronological order. The main characters spin in and out of the stories without resolution, the perspectives change, the language shifts - all frustrating in a novel but typical in a collection of short stories. Katie is a super short story writer too, and possesses the wit and ability to spin bon mots and endings which keep short stories satisfying and lodged in your memory.

Would I recommend Girls in Trucks? If you'd like to dip into a few stories, yes. If you want to read a novel about a developing set of characters (particularly the protagonist), maybe not. Most of the book, I couldn't bring myself to like the main character at all. I thought a pickier editor would have split her into two - she seems sharper (perhaps more autobiographical) in some chapters, and then hammered into a simpler (and more frustratingly destructive) shape in another. As the book ends, she resolves too swiftly upwards. I would recommend keeping an eye on Katie Crouch as a writer though, and trying to catch her short stories as they appear. She's definitely someone to watch.

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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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message 1: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy This was one of those books where I didn't like any of the characters, or much of the story, but could recognize that the writing was good, and it had some fine moments. That I didn't like it isn't Katie's fault. It just wasn't to my taste.

Julia I thought it was Katie's fault because she doesn't seem to like the characters herself ;-). Do you think it also had a bit of an after taste of MFA school? Sort of like freezer burn, that.

message 3: by Amy (new) - rated it 2 stars

Amy Ha! That's it exactly! (I have loads of opinions about MFA programs, especially after reading before/after writing samples of friends who went that route.) And your observation about the short story feeling was spot on. There was a definite disconnect happening between chapters. Still, the writing was good enough to make me dislike the characters, not dislike the writing in itself. I mean, it's not like other authors who make me scream because they have characters "waving quietly", etc. Must go back and look at publishing house and editor info.

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