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The Flood Girls    by Richard Fifield Amazon.com order for
Flood Girls
by Richard Fifield
Order:  USA  Can
Simon & Schuster, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

The tiny town of Quinn, Montana, population 956, is the home of the Flood Girls a softball team ruled over with an iron fist by Laverna. They are not very successful but seem to pull out crowds to watch them lose. The residents of Quinn don't like outsiders and one they truly dislike is Laverna's daughter Rachel, who left Quinn twenty years before trailing a very unsavory reputation as an alcoholic, as well as a harlot.

Rachel had left town as quickly as she could after high school graduation to avoid her mother who owned a bar called the Dirty Shame. The strictures Laverna placed on Rachel were too demanding for a young girl who wanted to get out of town and see the world. Be her own boss. Make her own decisions. Now she has joined AA and has returned to Quinn to make amends to everyone she might have offended. Making amends is not an easy thing to do, as Rachel discovers.

About the only one in town who will talk to her is her twelve-year old neighbor, Jake. This young man has a style of his own and haunts the thrift stores to find period clothing. He has an eye for fashion and has the nerve to flaunt his fashion choices to the staid residents of town. He suffers greatly at the hands of his stepfather who wants him to stand up and be a man. The final pages came as a shock to me; but I should have seen it coming.

Author Richard Fifield used his own home town of Troy, Montana, population 956, to great effect. The Flood Girls will make you angry, happy, and shocked, while you laugh at some of the antics of Quinn residents. You might recognize the drunkard who waits for the Dirty Shame to open at 8:00 in the morning. Or the women who make up the team of the Flood Girls who are terrified of their coach. As well as the repentant Rachel who desires to make a good thing out of a bad one. Her return to Quinn with her amends is fraught with negativity but she battles on. And Jake continues to make himself necessary to the people that matter to him.

The Flood Girls has characters one might actually meet in a small town. Gossip flies from person to person as quickly as word of mouth can share the latest. Some of this book reads as though you can recognize your own next-door neighbors. Others as though you would wish to know the character who manages to do what you have wished to do for years. The scenes in the Dirty Shame are priceless and almost make me wish I drank beer.

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