30 Books in 30 Days: 8.7.11

Who Will Run the Frog Hospital  by Lorrie Moore

I can’t write about Lorrie Moore without heading right into a discussion of her book–a novella, really–Who Will Run the Frog Hospital?   This is a special book, one so close to my heart because of the very prescient way it covers the delicate period of female friendships, from the closeness of friends from childhood through the transitions that high school and college bring.  On the one hand, this is a common enough topic for a book.  Many do it.  But Moore is anything but a conventional writer. The book’s enigmatic title says it all. Perhaps the strength of the book is that it skillfully allows the reader to live inside the protected world of this friendship.  And, Moore’s narrative is enmeshed with the idiosyncrasies of the small-town setting and the characters’ amusement park summer job.  The quirky side-characters in the book serve to draw the two main characters further into their own world while keeping them observers and sometime-participants in the world of their coworkers.

Without giving anything away, there is this one point in the book where the main character states how all of the intrusions of the outside world of growing up have affected this childhood friendship.  And, there is a sense of a loss, a loss of something that cannot be retrieved, that renders this portrayal of a friendship so spot on and so precious to the reader.  Read it, and you will understand.


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