Firefly Lane isn’t what I expected. The Netflix series or the book. I watched the Netflix series first, it seemed like it would be up my ally as I used to be a huge Grey’s Anatomy fan (technically I still am I’m just ready for the saga to be done at this point). I can’t say I didn’t enjoy the Netflix Firefly Lane series. But I also can’t say I fell in love with it. I couldn’t quite figure out the complexities of all the relationships. The dynamics between Tully, Jonny and Kate seemed a bit SUS to me. Now after reading Firefly Lane I feel I have a complete understanding of the characters and can see how the Netflix series seemed to try and “Hollywoodize” the story.
I much prefer the Firefly Lane book to the Netflix series.
When I told my mom I had watched Firefly Lane and wasn’t sure I liked it, she told me to read the book. “It’s sad,” she told me. “Really, really sad.” I could tell it was on the tip of her tongue to tell me why the book was so sad. But I think she knew I wouldn’t actually appreciate the spoilers. I was now curious about this story my mom obviously thought highly of.
Her and I are similar in so many ways. Remembering that always tugs on my heart because we don’t have any kind of relationship. Not currently anyways.
Now, get this, I actually read the first chapter of Firefly Lane, thought it was boring, and returned it to the library.
When I first tried reading it my head wasn’t in the right mindset. I was too wrapped up in the chaos of my personal life. For some reason, though, I decided to try it again. My most recent book pick couldn’t grab my attention. So I felt like something light and fun would be the perfect type of story to get lost in. Firefly Lane would be perfect!
So, just like you should try new foods more than once, I realized the same could be said for books.
Firefly Lane was everything I hoped it would be. Well, to be honest, I think one major component in moving me forward with the book was to figure out when it was supposed to be really sad. I also was super curious how exactly the book differed from the show. I understand a book must adapt when displayed in a new medium. However I can definitely see why people prefer the book to the show.
I will watch Firefly Lane again and will probably watch season 2 also. But I know it’s only ever going to be a shadow of the heart of the story Kristin Hannah tells in her book.
While this book was a fun, easy read, I also found it to be a bit nostalgic for me. I remember being 16 and in a situation like Tully’s. I remember hating my mother, being jealous of my best friend, trying to get the boy to notice me, always reading and sneaking out at night to party.
I think now that I’m done reading Firefly Lane, I feel heavy about it.
First, the multiple dynamics of mother-daughter relationships are so relatable to me. My relationship with my mom has always felt hard and forced for me. When I was a teenager, I remember how much I hated my mom. But I can’t remember why. Perhaps it truly is a right of passage to go through times like that. Then again, my 14- year old son has reason to hate me if he wanted. And he doesn’t. He is basically nothing like I was at his age. I tend to think this is positive because of the relationship we have built so far. Time will tell, though.
Honestly, I didn’t expect to think so much about my mom and I while reading this book. Perhaps it’s due to the timing. While reading the book I had some negative altercations between me and my parents. At the end of the day, the result is a typed letter from my dad, not read by me. Well, not yet anyways. Mr. Sexy read it and will hold onto it until I’m ready. Though, I have the cliff notes version of the letter. Although there is only one part that matters.
“Your mother and I release you from the obligation of having a relationship with us.” – My dad.
Now, I don’t know if that’s what the letter says word for word. I am not ready to see it. But I know my dad. And this sounds like him.
So, essentially, any remaining open doors to being friends with my mom have been shut and locked. I guess Firefly Lane, the book, was a painful reminder of what could have been. How it could have been so beautiful if my parents and I could learn to communicate without hurting each other. Instead, my parents have spent my whole life avoiding the heart of any problems we had. Then again, on the flip side, I think about Tully’s mom and am grateful that isn’t my story. I guess what I’m trying to say is… It could be worse?
The second reason this book felt heavy was the commentary about being best friends. I have so much nostalgia for those best friends I had as a young girl and then as a teenager, and then as a young mom. None of those friendships exist anymore though. I tell myself that’s how life works. There are seasons for friendships. We grew up, grew apart. Distance, families and so many things became more important than a 2 hour drive to spend time together.
Sometimes I even feel guilty for all the lost friendships. I tell myself, maybe I should have tried harder. Or my expectations are to high and perhaps I am simply a bad friend. But I can’t let myself sit and think like this for too long. Then I start thinking about how lonely I feel sometimes.
One final thought about Firefly Lane, the book: I loved the relationship between Jonny and Kate.
For the longest time I was waiting for Jonny and Kate to break up (thank you, Netflix). Yet it wasn’t until the beginning of the end I realized they wouldn’t.
The biggest angst in their marriage, and in Kate’s life generally, was communication. Kate would silently hold onto her jealousy. Jonny was afraid to even think too much about his one night stand with Tully. And Tully had her own issues with communication also.
I generally feel sorry for Kate. By the end of the story I know she is happy and realizes that love and family are what matter most. Yet she carried so much by herself for many years. She didn’t talk to her husband and ask for help. She didn’t share things with her best friend though maybe she did a bit with her mother. To top it off, Kate refused any kind of counseling. Her entire world and life centered around everybody else all of the time. That’s just not a healthy way to live. Nor can it be truly fulfilling either.
If there is ever any one thing you can do far your family, it’s to give to yourself like you give to them.
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Email Jessica B. your questions: Jessica@jessicaleighbiles.com