The Forgotten Girls by Monica Potts
THE FORGOTTEN GIRLS
I sometimes just feel the need for non-fiction. A way of escaping from the escapism that novels so often provide to ground myself in a topic, a time, a study, that does something for me in a different way. That being said, we know the lines between fiction and non-fiction can indeed be blurry — because isn’t it so that some of the best stories we read utterly convince us they are true, whilst the greatest non-fiction can read like a novel?
I recently had that exact experience that I needed, reading; The Forgotten Girls by Monica Potts.
Monica and Darci are the closest of childhood friends. They grow up together in rural Arkansas and are both bright students at their local school. They share much of their lives, both growing up in working class families, as well as their desire to eventually move away from their homes, from their communities. Whilst Monica does so — she leaves to attend college and becomes a journalist — Darci doesn’t.
When Monica learns through work research that the life expectancy of the women in her hometown has steeply declined, she has to return, to understand and to find the answers.
When she finds Darci — now an addict, a single mother, unemployed and virtually homeless — and reconnects with her, she finds much of her answers in Darci’s struggle and the relentless cycle of poverty and addiction that she is trapped in.
This is a hugely insightful and emotive read. Personal and powerful, it conveys the impact of the choices we make — though it shows how, for so many, the hopelessness that they face is an all-consuming one. Is there really a way of leaving? Can we ever truly escape?
There are no easy answers — indeed, parts of this don’t make for an easy read. But it is a tender and unquestionably, an incredibly important book ~ S