Girl in Between…
Lucy Crighton has just moved in with some gregarious housemates called Brian and Denise . . . who are her parents. She’s also the proud mother of Glenda, her beloved 10-year-old . . . kelpie. And she has absolutely no interest in the dashing son of her parents’ new next-door neighbour . . . well, maybe just a little.
When you’re the girl in between relationships, careers and cities, you sometimes have to face some uncomfortable truths . . . like your Mum’s obsession with Cher, your father’s unsolicited advice, and the fact there’s probably more cash on the floor of your parents’ car than in your own bank account.
Thank goodness Lucy’s crazy but wonderful best friend, Rosie, is around to cushion reality, with wild nights at the local Whipcrack hotel, escapades in Japanese mud baths, and double dating under the Christmas lights in London.
But will Lucy work out what she really wants to do in life and who she wants to share it with?
Girl in Between is a warm, upbeat and often hilarious story about life at the crossroads. Featuring an endearing and irrepressible cast of characters, it will have you chuckling from start to finish.
Girl in Between was so refreshingly delightful and quintessentially Australian. It’s also not often I get to read a novel set in a town I’ve lived in – actually, this may in fact be the first! Often hilarious, but never overdone, I’d have to say that what I loved most about this novel was the legitimate use of Australian language and the representation of our regional lifestyle. So often now it seems the ‘Australian-ness’ is no longer present within new novels. Perhaps they are written with an international market in mind, or maybe its edited out before publication; whatever the reason, Girl in Between took me back to the way Australian novels used to always be and it made me feel like I was back in Rockhampton, a place I lived in for twenty years but reluctantly moved away from 5 years ago.
While it’s true I felt an immediate connection to this novel based on it’s setting, the story held itself up well against my high expectations. Anna has an effortless style that should be highly commended. It’s a real skill to write funny without falling into tiresome or canned at some point, but Anna’s humour was geniune and consistent throughout. She crafted some excellent characters and wrote some cracking dialogue to go with them. Rosie was brilliant and reminded me uncannily of one of my best friends, who will also tell you without batting an eyelid that she is ‘shit-hot’. The whole cast was excellent and well balanced too, but I particularly loved Denise with her Cher-isms, her new-age hobbies, her home hints catalogue buying, and her wonderful encouragement of Lucy, who really didn’t have a clue and needed all the encouragement she could get!
Lucy was frustrating and flaky, inconsistent and tiring, but I still found myself cheering her on and secretly hoping she would get her act together. I did get very cross with her while she was in London – I can’t really say why without spoiling the story, but the future that I was beginning to envisage for her just wasn’t going to be, so I had to pick myself up and get over that! It was easy to see through all of Lucy’s inconsistency though and understand that the root of all her troubles lay in her crippling self-doubt. It was like a cloud hovering over her, never letting the sun shine through. For this, I could forgive her plenty, and keep on championing her, because it’s sad to know that a successful young woman could be brought so low so quickly and so often. We can be our own worst enemies in life and I liked how Anna handled this, not only when Lucy was at her lowest point, but also when she was at her highest.
Despite all of the humour throughout Girl in Between, there were moments of poignancy that showcased Anna’s skill as a writer and gave us a hint of what’s to come in future works from her:
I loved these moments within the novel, just as much as I loved all of the humour and incidental everday moments that were sprinkled throughout. I really hope Girl in Between is the first of many more novels from Anna Daniels. She is certainly a debut author to watch out for and I am more than happy to call Girl in Between my ‘feel good hit of the year’. I can’t wait to talk about it at bookclub!
Girl in Between is book 46 in my 2017 Australian Women Writers Challenge.