The Flood Girls Summary & Study Guide

Fifield, Richard
This Study Guide consists of approximately 68 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Flood Girls.
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The Flood Girls Summary & Study Guide Description

The Flood Girls Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on The Flood Girls by Fifield, Richard .

The following version of this book was used to create this study guide: Fifield, Richard. The Flood Girls. Gallup Books, 2016.

The Flood Girls is focused on three main characters, all residents of the tiny town of Quinn, Montana. The first main character, Jake, loves fashion and reading flamboyant novels on the roof the trailer he shares with his mother, Krystal, her boyfriend Bert, and their baby daughter. Jake’s one friend in their trailer park is the kind-hearted Frank, who feeds cats. But soon after the novel starts, Frank commits suicide, for reasons Jake does not understand.

In the second chapter, readers meet Rachel Flood, who has moved back to town after nearly nine years away, to make amends with her mother. At the Fireman’s Ball in 1991, she is ostracized by everyone in Quinn, including her mother and her mother’s best friend, Red Mabel. The only person who will talk to her is the young Bucky, who is too young to remember Rachel’s past.

The third main character, Laverna, is introduced in the third chapter. Laverna owns and operates the Dirty Shame, a bar that makes her wealthier than most everyone in Quinn, and caters to everyone, too. At her shift, she meets Jim Number Three, a new volunteer fireman in town.

Rachel, Frank’s daughter, has inherited her father’s trailer, but it is in terrible shape. Rachel, a recovering alcoholic, worries about relapsing from all the stress of returning to her hometown. From her new trailer, Rachel watches her new neighbor, Jake, read on the rooftop of his own. At the Dirty Shame, Laverna is robbed. She is not hurt, aside from the glass that shatters her arms. Rachel hurries to her mother’s side at the hospital. Soon after, Red Mabel tells Rachel that she will take a shift at her mother’s bar. Rachel agrees because she wants to make amends.

Jake’s stepfather, Bert, was at the Dirty Shame during the robbery, and becomes a born-again Christian. Bert meets Reverend Foote, an evangelical Christian, who wants to make them a family, until Jake refuses. Meanwhile, Rachel starts attending the local Alcoholics Anonymous chapter and finds a sponsor in the Chief.

Laverna still insists on coaching her women’s softball team, the Flood Girls, despite her injury. Jake keeps score for the team. After Rachel expresses her interest in making amends with Jake’s mother, Krystal, she takes Krystal’s spot on her mother’s team. Rachel is terrible, but with the Chief’s help, she improves. As the season starts, the owner of the local thrift store, Buley, gives Jake a sewing machine.

The novel then flashes back to 1980, at the Fireman’s Ball. Laverna is in love with her boyfriend, Billy, but when she comes back from the ball, she finds him in bed with Rachel. In a later flashback, readers learn that after Rachel cheated with Billy, he loved her, and she gave him multiple pills that contributed to his death. During the Fireman’s Ball in 1981, she and Krystal rob Laverna’s bar, the Dirty Shame. This was the last time Rachel saw her mother.

In the novel’s present, Buley gives Jake blue t-shirts, and he decides to make team shirts for the Flood Girls. Rachel lets Jake keep his sewing machine at her trailer, since he will not be allowed to keep it at home.

Over the course of the season, Jake forms special relationships with Laverna and Rachel. On his birthday, they take him shopping and secure him a special screening of a documentary film. Jake also continues to work on the t-shirts. But at the same times, Jake’s home life is deteriorating. Krystal is siding more often with Bert, and when Bert discovers Jake’s sewing machine at Rachel’s, he smashes it. Jake learns to embroider the team shirts instead. Bert also hits Jake, but his mother will not press charges.

During the season, Rachel gets her trailer repaired by Bucky and the Chief. By mid-season, the trailer is both livable and nice. She also becomes closer to Bucky emotionally. When Bert and Krystal leave Jake alone, Rachel takes him to the nearest large town, Missoula, where she thinks he can see the life he could have outside of Quinn.

Meanwhile, Laverna starts dating Jim Number Three, despite her misgivings. She is also excited that her team, while not good, is better than her team in the previous years. The team is invited to a tournament in Missoula. Jake is not allowed to go. There, Laverna sees Rachel canoodling with Bucky, and remembering the past, hits Rachel. This hit is the first indication that the two women are on the road to recovering their relationship. The Flood Girls do not advance very far in the competition, despite receiving the gift of Jake's carefully-embroidered t-shirts.

Bert and Krystal leave Jake out of their wedding photos, but Bert asks Jake to go hunting with him, which indicates a change in his attitude. However, instead of fathering Jake, Bert has planned to kill Jake, which he does, citing a hunting accident. While Rachel suspects Krystal knows what happened to her son, she does not press charges.

After Jake’s death, the Flood Girls hold an elaborate processional at the quiet funeral Bert and Krystal hold for him. Each woman wears an elegant dress and disrupts the ceremony. Rachel also vows to lay something bright on Jake’s grave each year.

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