I discovered Sheila Williams when reviewing her previous book On the Right Side of a Dream, and I loved it. What attracted me to her books is the quality of her writing. But I also fell in love with her characters. They are sometimes quirky, but for the most part they are real people one can relate to, strong people who stand out. In Girls Most Likely, the focus is on four women who have been friends since childhood.
Each section is narrated by a different girl "most likely to", starting with Vaughn, whose section happens to be the longest. She was the geek in the group - the one who felt most out of sync with the others, who felt the least pretty, the one who didnít quite belong. Vaughn was the dreamer, the one who aspired to be a writer.
Reenie grew up with a bunch of brothers, and is the one who initially befriended Vaughn when Vaughn was about to be beat up by a bully from school. Reenie is the beauty in the group, and was very popular with the boys - so popular that she often stole boyfriends from other girls, including her best friend.
Susan (Su) grew up with an alcoholic mother but found her way in the world with the help of her three best friends. Her mother was a wonderfully charming woman, educated and filled with grace and refinement - but only while sober. Su had a great speaking voice, and despite the hardships growing up, she developed the confidence to make something of herself. She was the one that everyone thought would be the first to marry, having found her one true love in high school, but people change, or turn out to be someone they are not.
Audrey grew up in a sterile environment, due to a father who thought he still belonged to the military. Because of the stress of always having to be perfect, Audrey grows up trying to be that perfect person, and almost loses her life because of it.
The book covers their lives from grade school through the present as they approach their 50th birthdays, spanning nearly four decades and leading up to their 30th high school reunion. The four women go through heartache and laughter, almost always inseparable as they grow up, but for a while they go their separate ways when one of them betrays the other. But the bottom line is, they are sisters to the end, sharing their lives and watching the world around them change, from when they were called "Negroes" to "Black" to "African American.Ē Hairstyles change, fashions change. Ultimately, itís the story of four friends, but also a commentary on the changing social mores and attitudes relating to black people in America.
Girls Most Likely will appeal to readers who enjoy stories about women friendships, but especially those who like to read books filled with nostalgia, stories that look back on the many changes that have occurred over decades of a lifetime. But most importantly, Girls Most Likely is a book that will appeal to those who especially can relate to and appreciate the changes that have occurred in the last forty to fifty years for African American women, depicting it through the friendship of these four women.