Girls in Trucks

Girls in Trucks

by Katie Crouch


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Sarah Walters is a less-than-perfect debutante. She tries hard to follow the time-honored customs of the Charleston Camellia Society, as her mother and grandmother did, standing up straight in cotillion class and attending lectures about all the things that Camellias don't do. (Like ride with boys in pickup trucks).
But Sarah can't quite ignore the barbarism just beneath all that propriety, and as soon as she can she decamps South Carolina for a life in New York City. There, she and her fellow displaced Southern friends try to make sense of city sophistication, to understand how much of their training applies to real life, and how much to the strange and rarefied world they've left behind.
When life's complications become overwhelming, Sarah returns home to confront with matured eyes the motto "Once a Camellia, always a Camellia"- and to see how much fuller life can be, for good and for ill, among those who know you best.
Girls in Trucks introduces a narrative voice that is astonishing and irresistible - a true, sweet, and wise voice that heralds the arrival of an exciting new talent.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780316002127
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Publication date: 04/07/2009
Pages: 272
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Katie Crouch grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and studied writing at Brown and Columbia Universities. She lives in San Francisco.

Read an Excerpt

Girls in Trucks

By Katie Crouch Little, Brown and Company

Copyright © 2008 Katie Crouch
All right reserved.

ISBN: 978-0-316-00211-0

Chapter One

A Debutante's Code to Dying

If you are white, are a girl or boy between the ages of nine and twelve, and, according to a certain committee of mothers, are good enough to associate with Charleston's other good girls and boys, then Wednesday night is a busy night for you. Wednesday night, from four until seven in the evening, is reserved for Cotillion Training School, or, as it is called casually among the students and their families, dancing school. The number of students is severely limited. Due to demand, children are usually signed up shortly after they are born.

The mainstay of the school is the Fox Trot, although other, more modern dances are also taught after the classics have been learned. The Lindy Hop. The Cha-Cha. The Shag is not taught, as, according to Miss Taylor, the school's headmistress, it is common. But naturally, dancing is not all the children learn at Cotillion Training School. At Miss Taylor's school, children are trained how to greet adults properly, how to receive refreshments gracefully, and how not to eat everything on their plate. In a society that is doing its best to leave formality behind, this program works to undo modern attitudes of brashness, to teach children manners, to arm students with the social tools they will need throughouttheir adult lives!

My name is Sarah Walters, and what I knew was that Cotillion meant sweat. It meant sticky thighs in saggy stockings. It meant soupy nights in the South Carolina Society Hall, where you were required to wear white gloves. My mother told me that I was wearing the gloves to show I was a lady, but after the first dance, I realized that the gloves also were about perspiration, as they instantly became soaked from the wet palms of boys as we step-ball-stepped to the tinny record player.

I went to Cotillion Training School for the same reason my friends went: my mother wanted me to. This was important to her, the same way it was important to have a picture of her great-great-grandfather dressed in Confederate gray over the sideboard and for us not to be seen in Dad's truck when we were in town. She is a member of the Camellia Society, founded in the 1820s by some Charleston ladies. You have to be born into it to be a member. The main purpose of the club was originally musical enjoyment, but after a few years the Camellias gave up that pretense and stood behind what it really was: an organization whose purpose was to gather, socialize with people of similar interests, and-most important-prepare their daughters for marriage to a decent man.

I never understood the Camellia Society, really. I went to the meetings and I ate the cake. I listened to the lectures given by the Mama Camellias on various topics: the importance of a consistently neat appearance, why one must not be seen out socially too often, the tastefulness of floral arrangements, how to sit properly in a chair. And, if the words themselves seemed silly, the weight they were given by the women in the room earned our respectful silence. We knew that as long as we listened, we were Camellias, and as long as we were Camellias, we were protected. The only question left unanswered was, from what?

Girls, at Cotillion Training School, you will learn the following:

The Waltz The Fox Trot The Lindy Hop The Rumba The Cha-Cha

Girls, you will not, under any circumstances, be taught the Shag. Don't ask about the Shag. The Shag is a common dance. You don't Shag now, you won't Shag later. Accept it. Live with it. Now go on, put on those white gloves and smile.

People say that Charleston's social structure is complex, but really, everything can pretty much be explained by the fourthgrade Cotillion line.

The future debutantes, the ones with balls already planned for certain years, stood in front. The Camellias were one of the oldest societies, so we were first. Behind us were the Magnolias (as old as us but not as famous), the Stonelochs (secretive, a little weird), and the Cotillion Society (only two generations old, so not really taken seriously yet). The next layer of the line was made up of girls whose parents had been in Charleston for a while-a generation or two-but who weren't going to be debutantes. Maybe their parents were liberal, or perhaps their father had married someone from out of state. Those girls usually stood in the middle and appeared comfortable and happy, but a little confused about why they were there.

Then there were the new money girls. I felt most sorry for them. These were daughters of parents who had recently moved to Charleston and who were trying to buy their way in. You could tell the new money girls from us by their clothes. Girls who belonged wore hand- me- downs from other debs, sisters, or family friends. New money girls had new dresses just for Cotillion. Sometimes, if their mothers were truly clueless, they had lace gloves. Girls with lace gloves received no mercy. Miss Taylor would glare at their hands disapprovingly; the other girls would stare and giggle. Plus, they were definitely, for the rest of the year and probably forever, going to be stuck at the back of the line.

I didn't mind Cotillion Training School too much. It was fun to go to the city on a weeknight to hang out with Bitsy, Charlotte, and Annie. Charlotte? wild and inappropriate, the daughter of divorced parents? was the only one I really liked, but we were all Camellias, so we formed a sort of alliance. Each Wednesday night, before letting me out of the car, my mother would look me over sharply, spit on her finger, and rub my cheeks. Then she'd leave, and the Camellias and I would link arms and climb the marble steps of the dance hall together. We'd stand in line across from the boys, giggling, whispering, and twitching nervously at what was ahead: the inevitable moment when we'd have to release one another, reach out across the room, and ask, cheeks on fire, to be touched.

Girls, let's talk about boys. I know this is a confusing time for all of you. You may have strange feelings. You may sense funny things happening to your body. We all know, for instance, that Annie is getting a little bigger around the chest already. We can speak privately about that, one- on- one. I have a pamphlet. You see, you are blooming, and it makes the boys act silly. They are like bees, buzzing around you, and it is your job not to taunt them, girls. Do not taunt the bees, girls. Do not taunt the bees.

At Cotillion Training School, you were not allowed to dance with your cousin. It was a rule, the same way it was a rule that you had to wear gloves, and that the boys moved clockwise in the dance circle, and that you had to look the chaperones in the eye when you told them good night. Miss Taylor explained that it was unnatural to dance with your cousin, or brother, or anyone in your family before you were sixteen.

"What is she afraid of?" Bitsy asked me. "I like dancing with my brother." Bitsy's older brother was a star dancer. At her house, they danced all the time. He'd whirl her around, doing advanced steps, even lifting her in the air sometimes and flipping her over his head. He had graduated from Cotillion already but still got paid ten dollars each Wednesday to assist Miss Taylor with class.

"She thinks that y'all will hump," Charlotte said. "In the Ladies' Lounge."

"That's perverted," Bitsy said, shuddering slightly. "You're perverted."

Personally, I liked this rule. I didn't have a brother, but I did have a cousin, and I wouldn't have danced with him anyway, not if you'd zapped me in a thunderstorm with an electric cattle prod.

Ted Wheeler was my mother's first cousin's son. When we were little, we played together. There is a picture of us on the beach, and another one of us naked with a flock of yellow plastic ducks in a tub. Ted was a very good dancer and won the silver dollar for Fox Trotter of the Year three times. Bitsy and Annie were a little in awe of him. It was only a dollar, but still, it was a big deal, honorwise.

"Do you think Ted would pick me as his partner at Cotillion graduation?" Bitsy asked one night while we hung out on the stairs, waiting for my mother. "I really want a silver dollar."

"Sure," I said. Bitsy was pretty. She was probably the prettiest girl in dancing school, with silky hair that never got messy, even at a slumber party, and huge blue eyes. Annie and Charlotte were pretty too, but Charlotte was dark, and Annie was fat-she already had breasts as big as my mother's, and her arms swelled sweetly against the elastic puffed sleeves of her dresses. As for me, I coasted by. I wasn't too fat or too thin. I had braces and freckles and straight brown hair that crackled with electricity in a way that I liked when I brushed it in winter. Still, next to Bitsy, I was nothing. So of course Ted Wheeler would dance with Bitsy. It was sort of silly that she was even asking the question. Not that I approved, though; Ted Wheeler was no one that Bitsy should want to dance with. I knew that she could take care of herself, but Ted was mean. His soul was as black as summer tar.

"You don't want to dance with Ted, Bitsy," I said. "He's evil."

Bitsy shrugged. "I guess. He seems OK."

She was wrong, though. After that tub picture was snapped, Ted Wheeler tried to drown me. Once, I had to get stitches because he hit me on the head with a Tonka Truck. Ted's father had left Cousin Cindy for a lady who wore tennis skirts, but it was my opinion that he probably also left because of Ted Wheeler. Ted was bad, even when he was a baby, and by the time we got to Cotillion Training School, he was worse. He brought in a BB gun and shot the girl with Down syndrome. He called the kid with the birthmark Freak Face. Me, he hated the most. He pinched me and punched me and told me I was ugly. One night, right in front of everyone, he shoved me down the grand stairway, and when I hit bottom, bruised and breathless, he ran down after me and pulled my hair while pretending to help me up.

"You're ugly," he hissed in my ear.

"I hate you," I said back. I told everyone that I hated Ted. Bitsy, Annie, my teachers, my parents.

"You cannot hate Ted Wheeler," my mother said patiently. "He is my cousin Cindy's son."

"But I do," I said. I didn't like the way these feelings made me act, but the fact was, Ted Wheeler was horrible and I hated him. I knew I was right. It was my own personal constant. Another rule to live by.

Step-ball-step Step-ball-step SHIFT WEIGHT Step-ball-step Step-ball-step SHIFT WEIGHT

From what I could tell, the boys did not have the same silent rules about lining up as we did. They stood together in a huffing, snorting jumble, popping Chinese noisemakers and, on more hectic nights, setting off smoke bombs. After the first few Wednesdays, I didn't spend time trying to understand who on the boys' side sat where. In grade school, boys are not something to analyze. They are, as a collective, a thing to be survived.

A few weeks after Ted Wheeler threw me down the stairs, though, it finally became clear that I had to fight back. It wasn't about just me anymore. This time, he went for Annie.

It was raining that Wednesday. Rainy nights at Cotillion Training School are especially unpleasant, because your hair frizzes and the already hot hallway is blanketed in a swampy adolescent haze. Charlotte ? whom Ted also hated but also slightly feared ? was sick that night, leaving us open for an attack. It was hot, so Annie's face was particularly flushed. A little line of sweat trickled down her cheek. Ted made his way over through the crowd. I had developed a radar for Ted as a self-protection device practically since birth, so I saw him coming right away. Instinctively, I hunched my shoulders.

Ted smiled at me sweetly, so I relaxed a little. It seemed that he wasn't aiming for me. Maybe he was coming to talk to Bitsy? That would make sense, because all the boys did. She must have thought the same because she smiled, cocking her head expectantly, then frowned in confusion as Ted passed her and proceeded to sink his finger deep into Annie's plentiful stomach flesh.

"Moooo!" Ted yelled, causing the crowd around us to titter nervously. Even Bitsy giggled for a second. "The cow says moooooooooooooo."

I looked at Annie's face, which was red with horror.

"Shut up, Ted," I said, shoving him. He shoved me back harder, then walked away, still laughing. Annie's eyes were brimming with tears.

"I can't help it," she said. "I even did the Jane Fonda video today."

Bitsy and I were quiet. I was too angry to talk, and Bitsy was not great at talking during times like these. Still, through the first half of class, I plotted. I waited until the lesson was half over, then I pulled Bitsy aside in the brownie-and-cola line.

"You know what?" I whispered to her. "Ted Wheeler has three nipples."

Bitsy's eyes widened. She loved secrets and could be relied upon to keep them for about two minutes. "Really?" she asked.

"Yes," I said. "And one time, I saw Ted Wheeler hump his own cat."

"That's so perverted!" she said. "What kind of cat?"

"White," I said, my mind racing wildly. "Its name was Mittens."

"I don't believe you," Bitsy said, looking over at Ted.

"I'm his cousin," I said. "I know."

In the time it took to consume three brownies and a Sprite, Bitsy had asked Ted about his third nipple. He stared at me from across the waxed dance floor, eyes narrowed. Recalling the pain of my head smacking against the stairs, I felt the fearful urge to vomit. But he said nothing to me, and when class ended, I smiled at Annie and made my way to the coat line.

Annie and made my way to the coat line. There, in the unsupervised vacuum that was the dark, dusty place behind the stairs, Ted Wheeler and three other boys grabbed me. They pulled me into an even darker corner and held me down as I fought. Bitsy and Annie were already outside, but other girls were watching-I remember shiny blue and yellow dresses scattering like crows in buckshot. Bitsy's brother put his hand over my mouth. Ted Wheeler shoved his hand up my dress. He yanked at my tights and pulled my dress up. They had covered my eyes, but I could hear laughing, could feel groping and poking by something cold.

"She's so ugly," Ted Wheeler said. "She smells like a dog."

I fought. I kicked. I scratched. I bit, smelled chicken, tasted flesh. Someone yelped in pain, and they let me up, and I heard a clatter, saw a Sprite bottle roll across the floor.

I stood up and smoothed my dress down. Bitsy's brother's hand was bleeding. I didn't cry, but still, something was flooding in me. "You're going to die, Ted Wheeler," I said.

A flash of fear crossed Ted Wheeler's face, quick as a mullet. The other boys backed away. Bitsy's brother ran.

"That's right," I said. "Ted Wheeler, you're going to die and burn in hell."

He stared at me for a moment before doubling over cruelly into a laugh. Then, Ted Wheeler drew his head back and spat on me.

Cotillion Training School ends in seventh grade. Our debutante ball isn't until after high school, so for the in-between years, you sort of forget you're a Camellia. There's no more Fox Trotting, and other than a committee meeting at Christmas, the Mama Camellias leave you alone.

The Camellias parted ways after dancing school. Charlotte and I stayed best friends, but Bitsy, Annie, and I drifted apart once the Cotillion glue loosened. The same social hierarchy no longer seemed to apply; instead of family status, popularity was based on traditional factors, like looks and sports skills. We were still Camellia sisters, but Bitsy didn't always like to be seen with people like Annie and Charlotte and me. She now existed in the unattainable girl-with-older-surfer-boyfriends group, while Charlotte hung with the stoners and Annie got fatter and sank into the giggly choir-girl circle. I spent most of my time in the school newspaper office. While I couldn't control anything that went on with boys or who liked me at school, I could at least report on them in the "anonymous" weekly social column, and when feeling especially powerful, I could put my name next to protests of burning injustices, such as the lack of vegetarian options in the cafeteria. This was not seen as particularly cool by anyone except Charlotte and the few pale boys I was friends with. Still, I had a place to go at lunch, which, in high school, is pretty much all you need.

Ted Wheeler went away to boarding school, so I barely ever had to see him. My mother didn't do much with Cousin Cindy anyway. Cindy had turned into a sort of sad cousin, living in her big alimony house on Broad Street. She had been lovely when she was married to Ted's dad, but now, my mother observed, she was getting dumpy. It is the duty of the Camellia to observe. She does not insult directly, but instead sandwiches her blows between compliments drizzled in honey.


Excerpted from Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch Copyright © 2008 by Katie Crouch. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Girls in Trucks 3.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 121 reviews.
Galleysmith More than 1 year ago
I'll start my review by stating I didn't like this book. Not because it is bad in the grand sense of the word but rather just bad for me. I wholeheartedly admit that I felt slightly deceived by the synopsis on the back cover. The way I read it the story was made to sound lighter than it actually was. In reality the biting-humor advertised fell short on me as I waded through the darker tone and dysfunctional situations. It was simply not what I was expecting nor would it have been a book I would have chosen to read had the notes on the back portrayed that darker tone a bit more. Despite the above, Crouch did a great job of developing an extremely complex set of characters. Most importantly her protagonist Sarah Walters is as multi-layered as it gets as she struggles to find what she considers the perfect life for herself. It is she that the reader follows from an awkward girl through her coming of age as part of the Cammelias and then into womanhood. It is this dysfunctional journey that shows how skilled Crouch is as a writer as she portrays Sarah with a sensitivity that makes her rootable. Often times I found myself hoping things would finally turn around for her and that she would finally work through her myriad of addictions (men, alcohol, etc.) to find peace, solace and ultimately happiness. If you are looking for a book that delves a bit more into social structures and how they influence our psyche and the way we navigate life I think this book would be a good selection for you. Further if you are interested in intricate character development you'll enjoy Girls in Trucks a great deal.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was pleasantly surprised by this book! It captured moments in time that shape a very unfortunate womans life. Life is made up of moments.... The flow was great and the characters popped out of the pages and sat next to me on the couch. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I was really disapointed in this book. I had to make myself finish reading it; it just wasn't what I had expected from reading the the back.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is almost a good book. The main plot gist has promise: Girls who are raised to be pleasers often seek to please the wrong men. The main character, Sarah Walters, is a very slow learner. I liked her better as a girl and the first two chapters are engaging. Her sister's character is believable as a high school golden girl who falls for the first man who treats her badly and manipulatively. All this drinking and pot smoking got very old very fast. There was no progression in character whatsoever in anybody. Hopefully, the author will learn more before writing her second book. Some of the chapters were so uninteresting and amateurish that I'm surprised the publisher included them.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had high hopes for this books. I love Southern humor, and coming of age tales are usually pretty easy to get through when I'm reading on the bus. Girls in Trucks starts off telling the story of Sarah Walters, a Southern debutante who does not particularly want to follow the 'coming out' way of life. The book then proceeds telling her life story, always turning back to her Southern roots. I did not like that the author jumps from point to point, with little or no background information to inform the reader. At times, I had to go back to jog my memory about a certain character or event. There was no organizational flow. The book also switches from first person to third person randomly, which confused me. Should have stayed with first person throughout. Easy book to get through, but very random tales threaded together with no details.
Guest More than 1 year ago
It's a good read, not completely wonderful but I liked it just the same. I spent a number of years down south when I went to college and I was able to somehow relate. A part of me missed the slow-paced and hospitable southerners. Not bad at all.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I went into this book with an open mind. I was expecting a book with hardships, and critcism of an elite society. I think that the author is a eloquent writer and even produced a book that was page turning however, i thought the plot and take away from the book was horrible. The author tried to include too many plots into the novel, and was unable to establish enough of a story. She brushes over the characters college experience, her relationship in new york, and even her relationships with her family and friends. I think that there were good aspects of the book (her description of a southern girl going to school in the north) however there were too many hardships occuring without enough background or effective message. Overall, a book has never depressed me as much and left me with no important message. I felt that this book was horrible, but still have faith in the author to develop a better book in the future.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is clearly a first novel. The author's frank, tell-it-like-it-is, writing style draws the reader in, yet almost slaps them as she changes voices, story lines and themes. It reads more like a series of short stories with characters that are related to the narrator, but not necessary to her story. Both the writing and the editing seem to be lacking, leaving you with a story that is splashed about on canvas with nothing more than a confusing image and pity for the main character. As an avid reader, and a woman who relates greatly to the subject matter, I was disappointed that the story did not better represent or inspire me. Hopefully, a second novel will have better transitions and more attention to continuity. That might be what the author needs to score a home run.
itsJUSTme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Kept me reading every minute.
kittykay on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
What a difficult review to write! It cannot be an objective one, for more reasons than one. I had read so many reviews of this book beforehand that it was difficult getting those out of my mind while I read.Surprisingly, Girls in Truck wasn¿t as bad as I first thought it would be. The ratings on various reading communities have been, lets be honest here, less than stellar. Now, I know not to give too much importance to those, but it can be a good indicator of the general opinion. Still, I had to see for myself; I liked the cover, the title, the summary. It was a short read, too; why not give it a try?In my opinion, the major flaw to this book is the inconsistent narrator. From one chapter to the other, it alternates from first-person to third-person. At some point, you even have another first-person narrator than Sarah, or you have Sarah narrating events where she wasn¿t present. With the change of narration style, each chapter brings the reader in another time and place. Also, there is no follow-up to some of the characters stories, which I found to be unsatisfying.Not only Sarah Walters is an inconsistent narrator, she is also, I thought, a not really engaging one. Her story begins with numerous hints of humor, but those disappear as quick as her alcool and cigarette¿s consumption increases ¿ and sadly, nothing is resolved in the end. I wanted to reach through the pages, grab Sarah by the shoulders and shake her until she decided to do something with herself, but she didn¿t seem to want to.Crouch¿s writing isn¿t bad, though. I enjoyed it, and I think she writes the best in the lighter passages. She could probably write a good chicklit novel. Sadly, the disparities between the chapters make this book feel more like a collection of essays than a novel. I¿d say the book cover is misleading; the image has some peaceful quality to it, while the story is, in fact, quite negative. Don¿t look to this book for some good role models, either; after reading it, you¿ll probably think that every man on Earth is either violent and/or weak and/or a cheater, and I promise you that the women don¿t do better.In the end, I¿m glad I got to read it to make my own mind, but sadly, this book certainly won¿t make my list of 2009¿s top reads.
laurenbethy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a book told by an antihero--a girl who makes bad decision after bad decision and sends her life into meaningless blah for no reason. She leaves her warm and comforting home for the cold darkness of New York and watches as her life descends into nothing. She is a cynical woman full of ennui. This book was interesting to a point but made me feel like life was meaningless, which I am sure that is how the main character was supposed to feel. What I didn't like about this book is that there was no hidden meaning, no ambiguity, nothing to induce me to read it again. I was attracted to this book by the cover, and I can truthfully say that the old saying applies to this book, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."
julyso on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Girls in Trucks is about Sarah Walters who learns to be the perfect woman in cotillion school while prepping for her Debutantes ball. In real life, however, she is far from perfect. She picks abusive men, drinks, does drugs, and is nowhere with her career. Sarah comes home due to tragedy...tragedy and lots of complications.I liked Sarah, but I didn't really understand her. The writing is very choppy, inconsistent, and disjointed. I found this very confusing. This book was fun and easy to read, but in the end really left me with nothing.
theepicrat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the story to a certain point and the writing is impeccable, but as I got deeper into the book, I got frustrated for a few reasons: 1) Sometimes the story switches from first-person to third-person for Sarah. I suppose it is a way to illustrate Sarah stepping outside herself and viewing her life through an outsider's eyes, but it is still distracting. 2) Sometimes it switches to third-person for a completely different character, like a cut-to-another-scene-with-other-characters. This I do not care for since we had been following Sarah up until that point. 3) It feels that Sarah is never going anywhere - her life, her relationships, etc. She doesn't know what she wanted which I suppose I can relate to, but I really want to throttle some sense and decision into her after reaching the middle and seeing no change whatsoever.I wish there had been a little bit more debutante shenanigans, a little more detail about Sarah's life as well as her friends and family, and less confusion on the narration. First-person OR third-person would have worked well, but using both seemed like too much!I can definitely see this book as an excellent book club pick or school reading assignment because it can lead to some interesting discussions. As a book to pick up in general, knowing what I know now, I would probably not give it a second glance or thought. I would like it more if it had a little more definitive story with direction. This was a little slow for my taste.
Shannan79 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
While I liked this book, I think it skipped around a lot. It was like she went from 13 to 25 in two chapters with out really getting to know her. This book left a lot of my questions unanswered about some of the characters. I know her sister got married a few times but did she ever marry the international guy? Why does a girl who is supposed to be the upper crust of society have such a potty mouth. What made her go wild with her relationships?Some good points:The depth of emotions of the characters were so vivid.This is definitely a page turnerSome bad points:Unnecessary profanityJumping aroundUnanswered questionsWould I read something else by this author? Yes.Overall I give this 3.5/5
yankeesfan1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This was an entertaining, fairly quick read. The narration style tends to jump around a bit going from first to third person. The characters were interesting although I personally found Eloise, Sarah's older sister, to be more intriguing than some of the others. I found Sarah to be somewhat unlikable, and frusterating due to her constant bad decisions. Still an overall solid read.
DonnerLibrary on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed Girls in Trucks quite a lot when I started reading it. Sarah's voice is fresh and honest. She tells it like it is and often deflects emotion with humor. The time line shifted frequently, which was a bit confusing, but I was still able to hold the thread of the story through Sarah. Unfortunately, somewhere around the middle of the book, the author began repeating information. There would be a quick paragraph about Sarah's relationship with Max as if the reader needed a reminder even though we had just spent chapters in that portion of Sarah's life. Another was a reference to Sarah's sister's wedding, reminding the reader that she had been married twice, after we had just lived the story of Sarah as the bridesmaid at the second wedding.Another issue that I had with Girls in Trucks was the shifting point of view. Most of the book is told through Sarah in first person but every once in a while another character steps in and takes over. Then there was a strange section that was still focused on Sarah but was suddenly in third person. I don't mind multiple character point of view but I would prefer the point of view be consistent through the entire book.Crouch has wonderfully strong characters. They are flawed and engaging and I really wanted to become absorbed in their story. The writing is often refreshing and entertaining. I just wish inconsistencies in the point of view and the repetition of information hadn't pulled me out of the story.
BtweenLibShelf on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I have to say I won this book from a book blog giveaway. With all the hype it was getting I thought it was going to be a great read. Unfortunately I was disappointed in it. The way it was written did not flow, which made it hard for me to stay interested in it.
dele2451 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Partially poignant and partially pathetic. I couldn't resist the cover, the title, and the premise and I was sure I had made a great choice when the first few chapters enveloped me like a moist Southern night out on the front porch. The story of the bond between these Carolina girls raised to be debutantes was well done, but the main character's long list of failures with men got a bit tedious by the end of the book. Too nice, too mean, too married, too crazy, unfaithful, it. "Girls in Trucks" is kind of like its main character: Pretty and popular with a lot of unrealized potential. Bottom Line: I thought it was a good piece of Southern chick lit, but not a great one.
galleysmith on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I¿ll start my review by stating I didn¿t like this book. Not because it is bad in the grand sense of the word but rather just bad for me. I wholeheartedly admit that I felt slightly deceived by the synopsis on the back cover. The way I read it the story was made to sound lighter than it actually was. In reality the biting-humor advertised fell short on me as I waded through the darker tone and dysfunctional situations. It was simply not what I was expecting nor would it have been a book I would have chosen to read had the notes on the back portrayed that darker tone a bit more.Despite the above, Crouch did a great job of developing an extremely complex set of characters. Most importantly her protagonist Sarah Walters is as multi-layered as it gets as she struggles to find what she considers the perfect life for herself. It is she that the reader follows from an awkward girl through her coming of age as part of the Cammelias and then into womanhood. It is this dysfunctional journey that shows how skilled Crouch is as a writer as she portrays Sarah with a sensitivity that makes her rootable. Often times I found myself hoping things would finally turn around for her and that she would finally work through her myriad of addictions (men, alcohol, etc.) to find peace, solace and ultimately happiness.If you are looking for a book that delves a bit more into social structures and how they influence our psyche and the way we navigate life I think this book would be a good selection for you. Further if you are interested in intricate character development you¿ll enjoy Girls in Trucks a great deal.
hoot on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was quite interesting, but the different writing styles from chapter to chapter drove me crazy. I like some semblance of consistency in a novel. Some chapters in this novel even seemed as though they were short stories posing as chapters.I gather from the information page that particular chapters in the novel had been previously published. When looking at those chapters I could see them as stand alone stories, great stand alone stories. Within the novel however, they threw off the flow of the story dramatically I would say.Katie Crouch writes about a girl, Sarah, who becomes a woman throughout the course of the novel. The book opens with her in cotillion school prepping for her Debutantes ball and ultimately womanhood. The book closes on a mid-thirties woman, who finds that sometimes coming home is the best way to accept and remember who you are.The girls featured in this story are your average deb, getting into trouble almost all the time. The novel has a slight Gossip Girl quality to it, although slightly grittier. I must admit that this was a real page turner for me. I was frustrated with the writing, but that in no way stopped me from tearing through the novel in less than 24 hours.
indygo88 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Don't let the cover on this one suck you in. I admit, I did pick this up mostly because I liked the picture on the cover (in addition to the fact that I got it for $1, on audio, at a warehouse sale). This is the author's debut novel, and honestly, I wasn't all that impressed. First and foremost, let me state again that I read the audio version, and this is one of those instances where the author should NOT have read her own work. Her voice was just annoying and too much of a monotone. That was probably the biggest thing that turned me off. Secondly, the format of the story was too disjointed for me. Not only was the story itself disjointed, but portions are in the first person, and portions are in the third person. And it just didn't flow or transition well. Lastly, I finished up the novel and then wondered what the purpose of the whole story was. It just didn't seem to go anywhere. It's basically about a southern girl who just can't figure her life out & keeps searching. But not much had changed by the end and I felt like I wasted my time with this one. I won't say I hated this novel, because I didn't -- it had some redeeming qualities -- but it just fell really flat for me.
Vidalia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The minute I read the first review, I knew I HAD to get my hands on this book. Reading the dust jacket - "Meet Sarah Walters, a Charleston debutante with questionable manners and an inherited weakness for bad ideas" - I felt a tremendous shock of recognition. Granted I was from Atlanta, but take it from me, this book rings so true I was transported back to another time and place. Charleston society was Atlanta times 3 - or 4. In the South, Charleston is the top of the heap, the grand dame of southern gentility and manners. Southerners care about and know who your great-great-great grandfather was and adhere to a convoluted set of social rules. The society Crouch depicts really existed and still lives. Her setting is drawn with detail that truly conveys the place - not only the town with its hot, sticky summers and old homes, but also the stifling "old family" milieu.Sarah is a Camellia. She is the daughter of an old family, so she is a Camellia by birth, and as she says, "once a Camellia, always a Camellia," whether you really want it or not. So true, so true. With charm and wit, Crouch unfolds the story of a small group of girls as they grow up, leave, but never entirely get away from their Camellia roots. Crouch gives us romance with a dark edge and endings that, while not necessarily happy, are very satisfying. Sarah and her friends (by birth but not by choice) leave Charleston with relief, liberated, going "North" to college and escaping the strictures of a culture built on rules for proper behavior. (Southerners really do say "yes, ma'am.") They build new lives around the inheritance of their past, like setting furniture around a large elephant in the living room. Most of the book relates what happens to these Charleston flowers after they leave home. The plot is not sugar-coated and what happens to the Camellias easily flows from the background and story structure.Highly recommended for the Southern Reading Challenge. A great summer book. I could almost taste the sweet tea.Reviewed by Vidalia - Cotillon member and graduate of the Margaret Bryan school of ballroom dance, where you would have found me (step ball step), maybe, on row four, a little confused about why I was there. (one, two, cha, cha, cha)
ccayne on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I'm not sure why I liked this book as much as I did. Sarah, the main character, has many characteristics which typically turn me off, yet in some ways I liked her. She just seemed lost and floating along with this man or that, not finding a job that was stimulating, etc. Having a child didn't seem like the best choice but. . . I think what appealed to me was the honesty of the characters - each of whom was a bit of a screwup. They each had opportunities and some success but never seemed to bring it all together. I found the shift in point of view a bit jarring in the beginning but all in all, I enjoyed the read.
miriamparker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was immediately engaged in this book. It reminded me of THE GIRLS' GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING in only the good ways and not the annoying ways. It fell apart for me a little at the end when it skips around in time a lot, but all the individual parts of it were oh-so-satisfying.
lalalibrarian on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
pretty good. a bit too much casual sex for my liking.