THE BLUE GIRL by Laurie Foos

THE BLUE GIRL

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KIRKUS REVIEW

In Foos' sixth novel, a mysteriously pigmented girl in a small lakeside town serves as the focal point for the unraveling of three families, as told from the perspectives of the women and their daughters who surreptitiously feed the girl moon pies.

Three mothers, Magda, Libby, and Irene, and their respective teenagers, Caroline, Rebecca, and Audrey, are marooned not just in a tourist-reliant lakeside town, but in the stasis of lives unlived: "We kept them close to us on the beach towels and watched them slather themselves in oil." The women's marriages are studies in abandonment, either of the professional variety (Libby's husband, Jeff, who absents himself in order to avoid their autistic, quasi-violent teenage son, Ethan) or the mental one (Irene's husband, Colin, who one day stopped speaking and now throws a nerf ball against the living room walls all day). Rebecca is fooling around with Magda's son, Greg, a liaison the teens think is secret but is known to all. The near-drowning of the town's so-called "Blue Girl" and her subsequent rescue by Audrey breaks the stasis of the families by giving them a fresh outlet for their pity. But how many moon pies can one girl, blue or not, eat? The blue girl never assumes a proper name but instead remains with her moniker throughout the book in order to become a fleshy catalyst for long-repressed pain. With spare prose and a keen ear for the clipped interactions of people in denial ("He slips out of the house in the morning and into the bed at night without a coffee ground in the sink or a crease in the bedspread"), Foos untangles the troublesome knot that binds the families together one kinked strand at a time.

Foos effortlessly inserts a humanized sin-eater into the center of a complex, emotionally volatile group of families, creating a work that is haunting and healing in equal measure.

Pub Date: July 14th, 2015
ISBN: 978-1-56689-399-2
Page count: 220pp
Publisher: Coffee House
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