In 1963, three girls travel up to Memphis for a weekend they’ll remember the rest of their lives
Though all are from Birmingham, school friends Brenda, Marilee and Clara don’t quite expect the same things out of life. Each around 17, the three drive up to Memphis for a weekend by way of Brenda’s beautiful red convertible, each dreaming of what’s to come. Beautiful Brenda is dying for the chance to meet the man of her dreams, Elvis Presley, while put-together Marilee wants to work in fashion. Clara, who may seem like a simple country farm girl, has a huge heart and is usually the first to help anyone in need. Their weekend also includes Cindye Lou, Marilee’s cousin who lives in Memphis, and her family; though it’s difficult to see, adultery and heartbreak stain the family members’ lives. In an era when racism runs amok, the girls leave Memphis exposed to much more than they’d bargained for, and not necessarily for the best. Author Bridges vividly paints her characters, and their development is enjoyable and entertaining to witness. However, the novel’s focus is distorted by what seems to be too many characters and plotlines. Bridges’ book could almost be two separate novels, one about three girls exposed to city life and one about Cindye Lou and her family. As it stands, there isn’t a strong enough thread tying the two stories together, and the majority of characters seem barely intertwined. Each character has his or her own world with a unique set of problems, but it’s difficult and distracting to look for and try to appreciate a unifying theme.
Colorful characters in a lively era but in need of focus.