To the Power of Three is the story of three teenage girls and their long time friendship, which falls apart in their last year of high school with devastating consequences. It’s also about the secret life of girls, girl cliques, and girl power, in a way. Although not the “Spice Girls” variety of “girl power.” The narrative flips back and forth between the attempts of two homicide detectives to unravel the events of a school shooting and the lives of the three friends from grade three when they bond as a trio, taking vows of friendship, until grade twelve when the bonds are shattered.
Let me be very clear…although this is a book about teens… it’s NOT a teen novel. I was fascinated with Lippman’s characters. The girls, of course, but also the adults. The male detectives especially Lenhardt, who has a daughter himself, the female guidance counselor, and the parents of the girls … all with their own complex and sometimes bewildering lives. But don’t just take my word for it; have a look at Jane Gross’ review “Laura Lippman: When Friendship Fails You.” It’s a great article about Lippman’s book including some fascinating biographical stuff about her inspiration for the novel. You can read Gross’ article here.
Reading Lippman’s book reminded me of the Tana French novel The Secret Place, which I read a few months ago. Also about teen agst, highschool, friendship, shattered vows and murder. And the secret lives of girls. I love French’s work. Similar to Lippman’s book, The Secret Place flips back and forth between the adult world and the world of teenage girls, the baffled and beleaguered homicide detectives who are determined to get at the truth, and the high school girls who seem just as determined that the truth shall remain hidden.
And speaking about teenage girls, and secrets and angst. Yesterday, as we always do when I’m home, Mum and I paid a visit to our favourite second-hand bookstore. Gus has a great collection of Canadian novels, mystery and crime fiction…and well, just about everything. He unearthed for me a copy of Muriel Spark’s novel The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. I’ve never read it… nor have I seen the movie with Maggie Smith. I plan to remedy both situations this week.
This is the corner of the woodshed on the back of the old farmhouse. Looking not that different from when I was in high school. I look back on those years fondly…mostly. But NOT with any wish to relive them.
Which reminds me of an incident a few years ago. A female student in my grade eleven class approached me one day when I was alone in the classroom and tearfully said…”Miss, my mum says that these are the best years of my life. Is that true?” “No way, Tiffany,” I replied. “Being a grown up is the best!” I don’t think I’ve ever seen a kid look so relieved.
So that’s it for me for tonight. Tomorrow Mum and I are shopping for furniture for her living room. I will need my beauty rest for that adventure. On the weekend I’ll be seeing friends that I only connect with when I’m here… except on Facebook. That will be fun. In between, Mum and I will overdose on Jane Austen. We’ll probably watch Death Comes to Pemberley. And maybe some of our other favourites. We haven’t watched Sense and Sensibility for a few years. I do love the scene where Fanny finds out that Lucy Steele is engaged to her brother Edward. I know that Emma Thompson messed about with the characters and some of the original scenes….but I still love this adaptation.
Any thoughts on crime novels about teenagers…. these or others?