Yes, gardening magazines are always part of my summer reading and fall reading and my winter reading and my spring reading. But I’m not writing a post to tell you that you should be reading Fine Gardening Magazine, even if I do think it is the best gardening magazine out there today.
I am talking about a novel I just finished called Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll.
I had heard buzz about it, and a lot of people have been reading it that I know from Shipley because it was written by a Shipley graduate and basically the school at the center of the book is a fictional private school very much like Shipley. Reese Witherspoon has also optioned the movie rights. (She had Main Line experience when she came to Philadelphia to film a movie a few years ago and if I recall correctly she rented a house somewhere around Gladwyne and Haverford during filming, but I digress.)
If you grew up on the Main Line and/or went to one of the private schools you should really read this book. It’s fascinating, darkly accurate and darn fun to read.
It’s crime fiction but it’s not just that. It also is utterly spot on as to what life in a Main Line private school could be and was like— complete with the different tiers of kids and school social status.
Truthfully, for a debut novel it’s pretty powerful and yes can be quite dark. The depiction of the lunch room is also spot on.
The funny thing is that although I’ve heard a lot of Shipley graduates talking about this book I don’t remember seeing anything that the school put out. Maybe I missed it.
Main Line Today wrote about the book and I read the article after I finished the book. I always felt that the inspiration for the other fictional school in the novel was actually Villa Maria and I think I was right. Of course this makes me wonder that one of the many brief descriptions of teachers at the school is actually a teacher I remember and not particularly fondly.
The descriptions of the area, down to pizza places are spot on. But I would expect no less of someone who grew up in the area. But what is most fascinating to me is how accurate and unabashed the author is about writing about growing up and going to school on the Main Line. And the types of parents she writes about, we all lived through.
One of the sub- topics in her book, the reaction to new non-WASP kids at a school, resonated with me because I have a vowel on the end of my name. I also came to Shipley in the Upper School and wasn’t a lifer. Yes, I had some friends there going into the school as a new student, but I still remember the new girl feeling and the pit in the bottom of my stomach which accompanied it.
The author also depicts the whole working in your twenties and the hoopla around weddings and the crossroads some found themselves in.
The book is a work of fiction but it is one of those books that will resonate with a lot of different people.
I will admit I have a thing about books and movies set in this area. That is what drew me to the book initially. What kept me is the main character. Sort of an anti-heroine but oddly real for a fictional character. I liked her and I loved the novel. Check the book out!
Thanks for stopping by.