Girls from Portofino
Grażyna Plebanek
ISBN: 978-83-7414-065-2

Angieszka, the daughter of a wealthy doctor, has never known her mother. Mania is a child of alcoholics. The father of Beata, an anti-communist opposition activist, cheats on his wife. Hanka has to watch as, for years, her mother endures beatings and humiliation. All four girls are friends from a Warsaw housing estate, they go to school and grow up together.

They are not "good" girls: Plebanek writes about their secrets and their rebellions, their disillusionment with the world of adults, their first sexual experiences which they seek themselves, about the hunger for love and about betrayal and forgiveness. It is also a universal tale of female strength, friendship and loyalty, which later, in adult life, give the courage to search for one's own path in life, help survive a unhappy relationship, the loss of a child, emigration and being forced to give up one's dreams. It is also a stark picture of Polish daily life - from the hopelessness of the communist era to the first years of capitalism.

photo by Stephan Vanfleteren