GIRS IN TRUCKS by Katie Crouch

Crouch Girls in Trucks, by Katie Crouch, is an odd book. It is something between a novel and a collection of linked stories, all about Sarah Walters, a lapsed debutante from Charleston, South Carolina. The book follows Sarah's misadventures with men, starting with her high school crush and moving on to her her dysfunctional post-college NY boyfriend, a number of one night stands (some more memorable than others), and a couple of nice guys to whom Sarah could not commit.

What's good in Girls in Trucks: Crouch is a witty, incisive reader who nails what it's like to be the woman in any number of relationships (the passionless, the forbidden, the toxic). Her writing is spare, but it packs a punch. One short chapter, narrated by a recently deceased friend of Sarah's, is particularly devastating. I enjoyed reading this book, evidenced by my very late finish last night.

Also good: depictions of Charleston debutante society and the desperation of a bad breakup.

What's not as good: Sarah's destructive habits never die, and she isn't at at all redeemed or changed at the end of the book. I don't need a happy ending, but it's satisfying when the main character at least learns something over the course of 250 pages. Otherwise, what's the point?

Also not as good: no real purpose or direction here, other than the flitting from one relationship to the next. Sarah's relationships with her sister and father are not explored to their full potential, and the certainty with which she embraced motherhood in the end was unconvincing.

So this one was a mixed bag for me, but in the end I am glad I read it. It had been in my TBR pile for a few years (relax, Mr. FTC – I bought this one at the famed Powell's bookstore in Portland, and the receipt is still in the book) and I am happy to move it to the permanent collection.

I am sure there are readers who either loved or hated or loved/hated Girls in Trucks – weigh in!