Book Review: The Sunshine Girls by Molly Fader

Right out of the shoot, I want to say I loved this book. It addressed so many different aspects of life in 1967. The Vietnam War, friendship, abortion, death, drugs, race, family relationship and secrets.

Iowa, 1967 BettyKay is heading for nursing school because in that era women only become teachers, nurses or wives and mothers. She comes from a farming community where the sons are expected to stay home and help with the family farm and her boyfriend does that. He drives her to school in the family truck and supports her decision whole heartedly and promises to talk to her every Sunday.

Kitty is her roommate with a southern accent. She has style and sarcasm, and it takes BettyKay awhile to get used to her and to have a friendship with her that will last 50 years. Kittys own background story is very interesting and so different from BettyKays.

Jo, (and please forgive me if this name is not correct as I don’t have my book in front of me) is an African American girl. She walked into the school and of course had people ignoring her and having to sit by herself until BettyKay asked her to sit with her and she eventually rounded out the trio of friends. She decided to go to nursing school and serve in Vietnam so her brother would not be sent to the war. She takes no time off to have fun and plans to graduate early. She keeps her eye on the light at the end of the tunnel so to fulfill her family obligation.

Kitty was just glamorous, and flirtatious but would also sew for others on the floor. She was sewing for Jo in return for her notes from class. There was only one phone on the floor and if Kitty would get a call she would go to the phone and hang up on it without even talking to the person on the other end.

BettyKays boyfriend visits one day, with a uniform on and tells her that he has enlisted to go to Vietnam. She is shocked of course, wondering why he didn’t discuss it with her. He said he didn’t want to be talked out of it and that he leaves the next day. They spend the night together and then in two months she realizes that she is pregnant. This was not a surprise in the book, and you will see it coming but what happens after is very interesting and cements the friendships.

The book moves through the early lives and then the adult lives of the three women and back and forth. It weaves and builds a good story that way. I am going to stop here because I hope you pick up the book and get immersed into their lives.

I will tell you that the reason the book is titled “The Sunshine Girls” is that is what new nursing students are called.

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