Sunday, June 26, 2016

“Gridley Girls”

Meredith Carlin First was born and raised in Gridley. Though she lives with her family in Minneapolis and Sacramento, small town life was a formative influence, so much so that she left as a recruiter with Apple Inc. to write a (fictionalized) account of her growing up.

“Gridley Girls” ($17 in paperback from SparkPress; also for Amazon Kindle) is the story of Margaret (Meg) MacGregor Monahan in her freshman year at Gridley High in 1978. “My father’s father is Mormon … and my mother’s family went to the First Christian Church. You could say I’m half Mormon and half anti-Mormon. Sets things up for a very harmonious childhood.”

She has three older sisters. Her mom’s admonition: “Remember girls, Y-A-L. You’re a lady.”

Meg and the other Gridley Girls never give up on each other. In 2008, Meg is living in Sacramento and is helping her best friend Anne prepare for her wedding. Anne is nervous, and Meg can’t seem to forgive herself for betraying Anne long ago. “It wasn’t over a boy or a catty, teenage-girl prank. It was because of God. I broke the solemn trust of a lifelong friend because I was a misguided girl who was told a secret that I was incapable of hearing, let alone keeping.”

The two friends revisit their shared past in a tale that is at times outrageously funny and soberly honest. Think Erma Bombeck meets Judy Blume. “Let’s recap the second half of 1978, shall we? I graduated from eighth grade as a naïve, innocent girl alongside my best friends. … Then I started high school, got a boyfriend, got felt up, panicked, broke up with said boyfriend, became a peer counselor”—and heard the confessions of two friends that left her confused and vulnerable.

Readers will revel in the sounds and sensibilities of the seventies in this witty, poignant, and captivating novel.

The author is scheduled to be interviewed by Nancy Wiegman of Nancy’s Bookshelf on North State Public Radio,, on Friday, July 8 at 10:00 a.m.

Meredith First will be signing copies of her book on Saturday, July 16 from 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. at Macs Hardware, 550 E. Gridley Road in Gridley.

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