Girls in Trucks
By Katie Crouch
Little, Brown and Company, Hardcover, 9780316002110, 256pp.
Publication Date: April 1, 2008
List Price: $21.99*
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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 an irresistable, sweet, and wise voice that heralds the arrival of an exciting new talent.
Katie Crouch grew up in Charleston, South Carolina and studied writing at Brown and Columbia Universities. She lives in San Francisco.
"It's always exciting to hear a new voice-and Katie Crouch speaks in a funny, spiky, highly original voice that carries a reader happily along through this charming novel. Her "Camellia Girls" carry the sweet scent of Charleston, but they've got a lot more going on in their heads than most ladies of Southern fiction. I enjoyed this book from beginning to end."
-Mark Childress, author of One Mississippi and Crazy in Alabama
"Girls in Trucks is an extraordinary first novel, one that I'm betting will win the hearts of every reader who has ever sought love or dodged it, and anyone who just plain likes to read a book that's savvy, funny-and-sad, wise, and beautifully written. Katie Crouch has the best ear for dialogue I've come across in years; and she knows how to tell a story that catches us up and spirits us into a world that's achingly familiar but full of surprises. Wow."
-Josephine Humphreys, author of Nowhere Else on Earth
"In the book's final scene, she leaves her characters in a shared moment of new joy, one that may or may not last, no guarantees, just like in life and in good literature."
-San Francisco Chronicle
''Sometimes, looking back on things that have happened to me, I can pin down exact moments when certain situations began to unravel,'' reflects Sarah, the insightful protagonist of Katie Crouch's captivating novel Girls in Trucks.... given all the predictable tales about young women, Sarah's genuine imperfection seems refreshing. A-
"Lucky for her readers, Crouch put to use all her cotillion-girl knowledge when she wrote her debut novel, GIRLS IN TRUCKS. . . . In her acknowledgements, Crouch thanks her fifth-grade teacher, Dorothy Rhett, who told Crouch she was a writer. Rhett is surely proud. Maybe her cotillion teacher will be, too."
-The Charlotte Observer
"Sarah's voice is a funny, slim stiletto to the heart of friendship, desire and love. Her spare prose and sharp dialogue flay open a universal need to belong, whether to a place, a person or your own true self."
"A page-turner by every account, Girls in Trucks blends steamy scenes and heartbreak with an infectious, dreamlike prose, to deliver a graceful work of literature--not to be read while wearing white lace gloves!"
-Booksense.com - #1 BookSense Pick April 2008
"[A] very amusing debut"
"[An] amusing debut.... Crouch's portrayal of a young woman's self-sabotage and the pitfalls facing young women in a cold world is wise, wry and heartbreaking."
"In Girls in Trucks everything is cockeyed and wonderful-white-gloved drunks and stoned debutantes, the social rules of hot Charleston and icy New York. And at the center of it all Katie Crouch has brought us Sarah Walters, a devastatingly funny character trying to figure out not just how to manage the waltz, the cha-cha and various dances of heartbreak-but how to stay alive."
-Victoria Redel, author of Loverboy and The Border of Truth
"Readers will be powerless to resist Sarah Walters, the charmingly lusty narrator of Katie Crouch's debut novel. Her Charleston girlhood may have taught her how to be gracious to others, but it's the heartbreaking honesty with which she sizes herself up that makes her one of the funniest, most sympathetic literary heroines in years."
-Jonathan Dee, author of Palladio
"There are more gasps, sobs, laughs and surprises in these pages than in most people's entire bookshelves. Love never felt so sharp or real as in Katie Crouch's debut."
-Andrew Sean Greer, author of The Confessions of Max Tivoli
"Sarah Walters, the heroine of Katie Crouch's Girls in Trucks, is one of those people who never quite fits in-not with her Southern gothic family, not with her comically flawed lovers, not with her for-better-or-worse society sisters. The question is, at what cost? In spare, confident prose, Crouch perfectly captures the peculiar joys and pain of a life lived mostly alone. She is an author who knows the hunger, and resilience, of the human heart. She's also damn funny."
-Will Allison, author of What You Have Left
"Katie Crouch's hip and saucy debut is exquisite, the best kind of book there is: It seduces you into inhaling it while at the same time begging to be savored. Perfect for beach, bus or rehab."
-Karen Karbo, author of How to Hepburn and The Stuff of Life: a Daughter?s Memoir