Tully is apparently a novel 'for anyone who had to choose'.
In a nutshell, it is a tale spanning about 12 years about a girl named Tully who had been abandoned by her father and abused by her mother and uncle. She has two best friends, Jennifer and Julie who have been by her side since childhood. During her early teen years she discarded the girls in order to dance and run with a wild crowd, but due to her mother's discovery of Tully's wayward behaviour, she grudgingly returns to the friendship.
After Jen can no longer live her own life, Tully goes on a quest to become both numb and live the life Jen wanted to have. She has affairs with other men while her faithful boyfriend Robin stands by her. Eventually Tully has children and works her way up the career path for a job she never wanted to do.
The saving grace in this novel is Tully's other friends, Julie and Shakie. Julie is the only person who is honest with Tully about her behaviour. Shakie loves Tully despite everything, and even stands by her when Tully falls in love with her very own Ashley Wilkes.
Overwritten but all-consuming, this novel has captivated me for many years, but it has also left me a lot of questions. I reread most of Tully over Christmas (I may have skipped my least favourite parts such as Hedda's story, Washington DC and anything medical to do with Tully, but I know this book so well it didn't really matter). Like Seinfeld, I always find new things. If you really want to read the book, please do so and then revisit my questions below.
New things I have discovered in Tully:
Jack and Tully: Despite the fact that everyone talks about Jennifer to Tully, she only cares what Jack thinks. She could easily talk about her with any of the people she is close to. But no, she doesn’t bother. When she finally stops blaming Jack for Jen’s death, she decides she can talk to him to glean more information. And that is truly lame.
Jeremy and Tully: Jeremy and Tully were never really a thing. Jeremy isn’t nice to Tully. He is a jerk. It should be a no-brainer. Basically I see Jeremy as a badly used plot device to help reassure us that Tully can and will cheat on the long-suffering Robin.
Robin and Jack: Tell me one nice thing Tully does for Robin? Nothing. Maybe she talks to him, maybe she wears his ring. She won’t live with him, only chooses him because she “has” to and declines all offers he makes to spend time with him. Ice Maiden right there.
-Jen’s secret is about Jack and her depression (lots of labelling around being a ‘savant’ and how she grew out of autistic traits – bull. This was obivously written in the pre-everyone's-on-the-spectrum days).
-Julie’s secret is she’s a lesbian, and Jen knew this.
-Tully’s secrets are not really that secret, she just likes to think they are. Tortilla Jack’s (I want more info on this, apparently she only took her shirt off once and I thought it was meant to be ‘racy’), the abuse of her parents and uncle, Wichita, running around with the wild crowd (who would want to be friends with Tully anyway?)
Bits of the book which truly suck
-The fair ground talk about Shakie
The ‘Did you kiss my leg’ scene
-Whenever Tully is at work
-When Tully makes speeches
-Anything to do with Hedda
Questions I still have:
-Why the 3Ms? Why mention this at the beginning and never mention it again. Don't make something a thing when it actually isn't.
-Hedda, Henry and Hank AND Jennifer, Julie and Jack. Someone explain this silly alliteration to me. It's clearly not coincidence.
-Why does Tully still live in the past so much? She makes it sound as if the railroad trailer days were horrible. Why? She was given freedom, a free place to live and had two men at her beck and call.
-Why so many stupid references to movies and songs? So many lyrics and forward slashes. I know that this is supposed to be a ‘historical’ novel, but Simons takes it to a whole new level.
Jack and Tully inconsistencies:
- -Tully and Jack never knew each other in high school until Jen introduced them, but they make it sound like it was a thing when it wasn’t
- -He is so disrespectful to Tully and Robin’s marriage – still calls her Tully Makker, takes her out for lunch every day, paints her house... explain please PS.
- -Tully would leave her own son to be with Jack. WHY?
- -Jennifer Pendel. Really?
- -Why shouldn’t Jen’s dad work out who Jack was if they were BFFs and everything? Jen is supposed to be secretive, but she was very young and it seems irresponsible that the Mandolinis had no idea who her friends where when they new Julie and Tully so well.