Angelina Jolie may have put this book's movie version on the map, but the novel itself is tenfold better, more subtle and engrossing. I had a lump in my throat while reading many of the scenes. One of my favorites.
Story is about a girl gang that starts up in the late 50's/early 60's era. How they all came together, explores each girl's personality and all the adventures and "misadventures" they experience while growing up and finally growing apart.
Ok ok ok, I admit it. I only read this book because of the movie with Angelina Jolie (before she was a super mega star, and cooler). Well, I was in for a surprise. I had to force my eyes from left the whole time, it seems. Some parts were intriguing but the writing is sometimes seamless and other times -usually without warning- jagged and confusing. Subjects jump around with no logical order and then chapters fly by full of violence and devious plots. I think the only reason I was able to choke this read down, was I knew -KNEW- that all this bad girl gang stuff: drugs, violence, etc would eventually lead to sex, right? Nope! Total let down.
First time EVER that a movie was better than the book.
This novel is a fictionalized account of an all-female gang that forms in a working class community in upstate New York. The gang, Foxfire, is founded by a group of girls who've all suffered alientation and lack of parental attention. The girls share a sense of being alienated and restricted from any sort of real social benefits or meaningful relationships becuase of their age, gender, economic status, and family situation. The gang is formed, and begins, by using public humilation and minor violence to bring justice to local men who have abused the privileges of their gender. Quickly, though, their activities escalate, and it becomes clear that the gang is on a path to self-destruction. This book was a bit hard to get into at first because its written in the tone and style of one of the gang's members, but the writing becomes engrossing. Oates truly takes on the tone and spirit of a teenage girl gang. While this is part of what makes the book hard to get into, it ultimately makes for an engrossing story. It is striking just how anti-male Foxfire's violence is, and the book seems to suggest that this is one of the myriad of social responses to a world in which girls are expendable objects, sexualized, and undervalued. Indeed, Oates invites the reader to consider the gang and it's activities as part of a continuum of responses that individuals in a depressed, sexist, and emotionally alienated society might produce. The book is as much a critique of the word that made Foxfire possible as it is a narration of the gang's activities. While Oates does not excuse the violence she clearly assigns broader culpability to the world in which these girls live.
This book is very intense. Love the movie, its a bit watered down though. Growing up in a time where women were just finding their voice, these young ladies choose to speak the only way they knew how. They became a force to be reckoned with. Operating outside of the law, these young adults refused to be the victims and instead choose to fight with fire, foxfire burns. Told through the eyes of Maddy the moral concious of the group, you feel a part of the action and often feel like screaming through the pages trying to warn the gang.