In the world of hip and young city girl main characters, looking for love or a way to escape, going through some sort of zany transformation and everything working out happily ever after by page 300 chick lit, Martha O’Connor’s debut novel The Bitch Posse is a refreshing change. In fact, The Bitch Posse is not chick lit, it is pure lit.
The Bitch Posse tells the story of three friends that were separated after high school and the crossroads each character finds themselves in fifteen years later. Torn apart from one another because of the past, yet bound together indefinitely, The Bitch Posse is part present and part past, illustrating that all roads lead back to one another, no matter how far they have run away.
O’Connor’s characters are deep and dark. She does a masterful job of capturing the personalities of the young, high school girls and their transformation into 30-something women struggling to simply live. The character development is suburb, capturing the spirit of the misfit teenage girl, the alliance held for those who do accept her, and the secret life of hurt she lives in. O’Connor makes these characters come alive and relatable. She uses relics of the past of a lot of her audience, such as Degrassi Jr. High, to illustrate the youth and innocence of these three characters and uses the everyday thoughts that many women have in their late twenties and thirties, but are too afraid to say out loud.
In dealing with the present, each character has to deal with the past. There is Rennie, the smart one, part novelist, part teacher, who uses sex to numb the pain and cover up her guilt of her past transgression. Amy, the reformed cheerleader, has taken to marriage and motherhood until one night changes her fate. Lastly, there is Cherry, the outspoken and strong one who has lived her past years in a mental institution. Each girl held their respective title in high school but threw them all away when they found each other. Psychologically riveting, O’Connor takes a no-holds-barred approach to dysfunction, alcohol and drugs, mental health, self-mutilation, addiction and the world that lies beneath all of these things.
O’Connor’s characters are complex. You will either love them or hate them, but you will understand them. The Bitch Posse is one of the best books to be published this year, and offers hope to readers and writers of more stories to come that are dark, real, and edgy. The Bitch Posse has changed the definition of tyically women written literature’s happily ever after.