The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield
Gallery Books: 2/2/16
eBook review copy; 336 pages
The Flood Girls by Richard Fifield is a highly recommended novel about strong women and one young gay boy in small town Montana.
Rachel Flood fled Quinn, Montana (population 956), nine years earlier.
Now she is sober, and looking to make amends and atone for her drunk,
promiscuous, out-of-control behavior that alienated most citizens of
this small town. Rachel's father has died and left her his dilapidated
trailer, so she is
ignoring the advice of her Alcoholic Anonymous sponsor and is moving
back to Quinn and into his trailer. The one person who she is really
desperate to mend her relationship with is her mother, Laverna Flood,
owner of a bar named The Dirty Shame and coach of a women's softball
Once Rachel moves in she meets her neighbor and becomes friends with 12
year old Jake. Jake loves wearing the right, perfectly stylish and
well-coordinated outfit for every occasion. Jake was also her father's
friend. Her father even built a shed to house Jake's wardrobe. It seems
natural that Rachel and Jake would understand each other and strike up a
friendship. Rachel used to be best friends with Jake's mom, Krystal,
but she's taken up with her live-in loser boyfriend Bert, and the new
As fate would have it, Laverna is incapacitated and Rachel ends up
taking a day shift at The Dirty Shame to help her mother. Even worse
than that, she is recruited to play on the Flood Girls team despite the
fact that she doesn't play ball. The Flood Girls is the name of the team
The town of Quinn is populated by a quirky group of citizens known by
their nicknames (Black Mabel, Red Mabel, Martha Man Hands, Bucky, Jim
number 3) or their family's last name. At night roving gangs of drunken,
pugnacious lesbian silver miners drink hard and cause trouble at The
Dirty Shame. Drinking seems to be the main recreation - that is until
soft ball season starts.
This is a funny, well written, entertaining look at an odd small town
and its inhabitants. Fifield brings the development of his
larger-than-life characters to fruition and as he covers basically a
year in this small town.
I'm torn on rating this book. While reading I was actually becoming a
bit disturbed by the overt stereotypes used to describe the diverse cast
of characters, The lesbian miners are all big, tough women, wear
flannel, drink excessively, and fight. Jake is gay so he loves clothes,
ironing, sewing, and fashion. The church people are all described as if
they are from some plain-sect. The church women all dress alike in
modest home-sown blouses made from the same pattern, wear denim skirts,
and no make-up, naturally. The men in short sleeve button down shirts
Setting the stereotypes aside, I did find The Flood Girls enjoyable.
The ending is shocking and memorable. In some ways it feels out of
place in this novel that was more wacky-small-town-life rather than the
dark side. I'm going with 4 stars because of the blatant stereotypes,
but I have a feeling I will be remembering this book for the ending.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy
of Gallery Books for review