Lita's Blog

{March 14, 2011}   The Possibility of Fireflies by Dominique Paul

“It is about 8 o’clock and I am back on the front stoop.  We’ve seen this show before, but I keep coming back for an encore [mentioning fireflies].  Maybe I think the show will end differently, but isn’t that what they say about crazy people?  Only crazy people do the same thing over and over and expect a different result.”

Pg 131

This book looks at things we know and talk about but rarely experience with such brutality.  We see the harsh reality of a mom in her prime and being left for another woman.  We watch as she breaks emotionally and all the effects it has on her daughters.  You hate her; but part of you understands and pities her, and you hate those feelings too.  The mom has reverted back to her selfish, childish self.  She cries over lost boys, becomes angry over petty things, takes revenge on her daughters, and hit whenever something doesn’t go her way.

But The Possibility of Fireflies written by first time author Dominique Paul isn’t about her.  Oh no.  It’s about the two daughters she’s suffocating.  Gwen is crawling out of this childish stage (or at least trying to), while Ellie is still trying to play by the rules.  This 14 year-old still uses words like “sissy” and “mommy” as regular vocabulary as if she can still hold onto those happier memories before her own mother started blaming her unhappiness on her children.

Ellie meets 20 year-old aspiring musician, Leo, who finally points Ellie down a road.  And she starts down her journey to find who she is, how she wants to live her life, and how she wants to shine like a firefly.

This book isn’t only a story about a girl, but a story about transformation.  You can see this theme through the cover with its baby pink of childhood, and its elegantly beautiful calligraphy of what represents hope in the book as if she finally obtains to hope to grow up and mature.  There is also a sudden, almost impulsive, looking splatter of lighter pink on the cover as well, which says to me, “This might…no…this will most likely get messy.”

This story will always have a special place with me because I have experienced verbal abuse off and on for almost 9 years no.  I know the feeling of being put down and feeling unloved.  But this book gives hope.  It shares hope.  It is hope.


Things to know about the book – it is a little random and sporadic, but still awesome for a first time writer.  There’s hope for everyone else!

Pet Peeves:

  1. Leo is 20 in the book, but 21 in the synopsis on the inside cover
  2. Why is this story set in 1987?  Time doesn’t matter.  This stuff is still going on, and I would’ve been confused why someone was making a big deal out of blue M&Ms if I hadn’t read the synopsis and figured out that was the year blue M&Ms came out.  (If there is another reason why it was set in this time period, then please enlighten me.)

Age Recommendations: 14 and up

Why? Slight Language, drugs, sex (but not outright with details)

Grade: A+


HI Lita! Thank you so much for the wonderful review and synopsis. I wanted to take a moment to answer your questions.

1. Leo’s age: In the book, Celia asks Ellie how old Leo is and Ellie says “I don’t know. Twenty maybe.” She is just guessing/estimating.
Then, Simon and Schuster actually forced me to pick an age for the cover synopsis. The age I chose was 24, which Ellie originally went on to find out later in the book. But they felt it was too old (and thus too racy) for a YA book and deleted the discovery of his real age of 24 from the novel. But, he is 24. He was written as 24 in my mind, and in the movie is 24.

2. I chose 1987 because, like Ellie, it was a pivotal year for me. Yes, the story is universal and could have taken place anytime. But the hilarity of some of the 80’s references lighten the mood at times. And in the film version, the 80’s time setting tell the whole visual story and give a feeling of nostalgia to us older folks :)

Hope that helps. Thanks again for the love!
Dominique Paul

barachi21 says:

First off, I apologize for not responding sooner.
Thank you so much for reading my review! It is an honor to have insight from the author herself. Thanks for clearing up my pet peeves :) And I hope to see more writting from you in the future.

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