The Flood Girls Review
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When you live in a small town, it often feels like everyone knows everybody else—and everyone knows everybody else’s business. So when a reformed troublemaker returns home in author Richard Fifield’s The Flood Girls, she faces the scorn of not just the people she’s wronged—but the rest of the town, too.

The Flood Girls finds Rachel Flood moving back to the small town of Quinn, Montana, to make amends for the chaos that she caused nine years ago. She’s inherited her late father’s trailer, and she plans to fix it up and make it her home. And as she attempts to atone for her troubled teen years by helping out at her mother’s bar (despite her status as a recovering alcoholic) and playing on her mother’s softball team (despite her lack of athletic ability), she finds a friend in her eccentric 12-year-old neighbor, Jake.

The publicity materials for The Flood Girls promise a “snappy, sassy” story—but if you pick up this book expecting a wild small-town comedy, you might be unpleasantly surprised. While it does have its share of light-hearted moments, The Flood Girls isn’t a laugh-out-loud kind of read. It’s the story of a young woman who’s weighed down by guilt, returning home to a strange, tight-knit little town where she’s entirely unwelcome. It’s the story of how she bonds with a fellow outcast—a flamboyant 12-year-old who loves Madonna and thrift store polyester. And it’s the story of her gradual redemption—with a little bit of help from a bunch of old men. And as it delves into her past and follows along on her quest for forgiveness, it can be pretty heavy stuff.

At the same time, though, this isn’t just a deep and dramatic novel; it’s sometimes darkly comic, too. The town of Quinn is loaded with eccentric characters, who help to give the story plenty of personality. In fact, every single character seems to have some kind of quirk—from the bar’s rowdy regulars to the misfits on the softball team—but they certainly aren’t wacky enough to make the novel wild and comical. In the end, some of their quirks actually make them seem just a little bit sad—and they make Quinn seem less like a charming small town and more like a poor, backwards little community full of mean people in trailer parks.

So The Flood Girls isn’t a “snappy, sassy” book. It’s dark and strange and often a challenge to read, yet it has a certain melancholy charm, too. If you’re up for the challenge, though, you may find some new friends in this small-town story.

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