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The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away

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Losing a friend can be as painful and as agonizing as a divorce or the end of a love affair, yet it is rarely written about or even discussed. THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY is the first book to address this near-universal experience, bringing together the brave, eloquent voices of writers like Francine Prose, Katie Roiphe, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Strout, Ann Hood, Diana Abu J Losing a friend can be as painful and as agonizing as a divorce or the end of a love affair, yet it is rarely written about or even discussed. THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY is the first book to address this near-universal experience, bringing together the brave, eloquent voices of writers like Francine Prose, Katie Roiphe, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Strout, Ann Hood, Diana Abu Jabar, Vivian Gornick, Helen Schulman, and many others. Some write of friends who have drifted away, others of sudden breakups that took them by surprise. Some even celebrate their liberation from unhealthy or destructive relationships. Yet at the heart of each story is the recognition of a loss that will never be forgotten. From stories about friendships that dissolved when one person revealed a hidden self or moved into a different world, to tales of relationships sabotaged by competition, personal ambition, or careless indifference, THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY casts new light on the meaning and nature of women’s friendships. Katie Roiphe writes with regret about the period in her life when even close friends seemed expendable compared to men and sex. Mary Morris reveals how a loan led to the unraveling of a lifelong friendship. Vivian Gornick explores how intellectual differences eroded the bond between once inseparable companions. And two contributors, once best friends, tell both sides of the story that led to their painful breakup. Written especially for this anthology and touched with humor, sadness, and sometimes anger, these extraordinary pieces simultaneously evoke the uniqueness of each situation and illuminate the universal emotions evoked by the loss of a friend.


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Losing a friend can be as painful and as agonizing as a divorce or the end of a love affair, yet it is rarely written about or even discussed. THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY is the first book to address this near-universal experience, bringing together the brave, eloquent voices of writers like Francine Prose, Katie Roiphe, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Strout, Ann Hood, Diana Abu J Losing a friend can be as painful and as agonizing as a divorce or the end of a love affair, yet it is rarely written about or even discussed. THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY is the first book to address this near-universal experience, bringing together the brave, eloquent voices of writers like Francine Prose, Katie Roiphe, Dorothy Allison, Elizabeth Strout, Ann Hood, Diana Abu Jabar, Vivian Gornick, Helen Schulman, and many others. Some write of friends who have drifted away, others of sudden breakups that took them by surprise. Some even celebrate their liberation from unhealthy or destructive relationships. Yet at the heart of each story is the recognition of a loss that will never be forgotten. From stories about friendships that dissolved when one person revealed a hidden self or moved into a different world, to tales of relationships sabotaged by competition, personal ambition, or careless indifference, THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY casts new light on the meaning and nature of women’s friendships. Katie Roiphe writes with regret about the period in her life when even close friends seemed expendable compared to men and sex. Mary Morris reveals how a loan led to the unraveling of a lifelong friendship. Vivian Gornick explores how intellectual differences eroded the bond between once inseparable companions. And two contributors, once best friends, tell both sides of the story that led to their painful breakup. Written especially for this anthology and touched with humor, sadness, and sometimes anger, these extraordinary pieces simultaneously evoke the uniqueness of each situation and illuminate the universal emotions evoked by the loss of a friend.

30 review for The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X Off having adventures

    I need to read this. See The Online Self, my 'review' This is what I wrote (but it's people's comments on the 'review' that are more interesting). Has this ever happened to you? My best friend doesn't think I'm a real person. I had a friend from 2012 on GR. In 2013 we formed a secret group and would chat several times a day, and email. Then in Nov 2018 her husband sold his business that she was GM of so she didn't need to be online so much and that was that. Communication more or less ceased. I em I need to read this. See The Online Self, my 'review' This is what I wrote (but it's people's comments on the 'review' that are more interesting). Has this ever happened to you? My best friend doesn't think I'm a real person. I had a friend from 2012 on GR. In 2013 we formed a secret group and would chat several times a day, and email. Then in Nov 2018 her husband sold his business that she was GM of so she didn't need to be online so much and that was that. Communication more or less ceased. I emailed her as to what I had done, no answer. I emailed again and got back a blistering, angry email in caps about it wasn't always about me. And telling me what I should have written instead. I had no idea how to reply. Any reply, any apology was going to include the word, "I" and therefore be all about me. After five months we re-establish communications and she said she had wanted to talk to me during that time, but.... Then after a couple of messages, she tells me that if I write I am not being considerate of how busy she may be. Busy, she has no job now and just lives her extremely narrow, extremely luxurious life-style with just a few family members and no real life friends near by . When you dnf a book and maybe write a review, you write negatives. I feel dnf'd. The woman is still on GR, still adding books, occasionally writing reviews. She doesn't chat any more, not even in the groups she moderates. She was bored with the online life, didn't need to do it any more as she is no longer working online. So, just as with a dnf book, it's not the fault of the reader, it's the fault of the book. Catch 22. 'You make me angry if you write anything that's about you' so you should write in this way but if you write at all, then it's all about you because it's not considering me and you are "breaking my balls". For more than six years we were friends, chatting about everything multiple times a day. But her husband moved on, she has no online job, she has no need of GR for a diversion, she has no need of me. She was a real person to me, I was just like an ebook she dnf'd. A year later she deleted her account and all comments, thereby ruining six years of conversation. btw I never read this book so I'll give it 5 stars. Why not?

  2. 5 out of 5

    Michelle Jones

    The Friend Who Got Away is a collection of essays on friendships lost. More than I’d like to admit I’m haunted by friendships that were once very important to me but now no longer exist. So I was obviously the target audience for this book. While I enjoyed some essays very much I didn’t enjoy the book as a whole. I think I have to blame at least part of my dislike on my sensitivity to the subject matter. My longing for friendships past made me judgmental to the authors in the book who acknowledg The Friend Who Got Away is a collection of essays on friendships lost. More than I’d like to admit I’m haunted by friendships that were once very important to me but now no longer exist. So I was obviously the target audience for this book. While I enjoyed some essays very much I didn’t enjoy the book as a whole. I think I have to blame at least part of my dislike on my sensitivity to the subject matter. My longing for friendships past made me judgmental to the authors in the book who acknowledged that the death of a friendship was caused by their own deliberate actions. “I miss friendships that ended through nothing I intentionally did so how dare you whine about how much you miss the friend you intentionally hurt.” I became bitter at authors who say they think they possibly could salvage friendships if they’d just make the first step and write or call. But I became more bitter still at myself because I know the same holds true for me. If I’d only make that first step there are a couple relationships that could be salvaged but I know they wouldn’t be good. I know that they would only be based on the other person’s terms. But I want to be optimistic for other people so in my head I condemn those authors. “You’re being so selfish. Why won’t you just call her. She probably misses you and needs you and yet you just refuse to call.” I know I won’t call and I don’t want to chastise myself for it, so I chastise them. That the essays all mark the end of friendships and not a single one offers any glimpse or hope of reconciliations is probably what bothers me most. Clearly it shouldn’t since I knew full well what the book was about. But while reading the few essays that I really related to I kept hoping that the last page would be about how the author had called, or the friend had sent a letter and they were repairing and rebuilding the friendship. I wanted some hope that deep, deep friendships, particularly between women, don’t die so easily and that there is always hope for the relationship to grow and thrive again. None of these essays gave me that hope and I don’t have that hope in my heart. I’ll never read this book again, not by any fault of its own but because reading it just reminded me far too much of pains and longing that I try not to think about so much.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Kirsti

    I knew that Jen was reading this book, and I decided to get a copy for myself. I love the idea behind this book and nearly all the essays in it. I'm a little confused about why the editors put the weakest and most polarizing essay first, though. Based on "Torch Song," I understand why so many people hate Katie Roiphe. Her essay is about stealing a friend's boyfriend, but it's the way she tells it that made my lip curl. Here's someone who compliments her ex-friend and then immediately implies tha I knew that Jen was reading this book, and I decided to get a copy for myself. I love the idea behind this book and nearly all the essays in it. I'm a little confused about why the editors put the weakest and most polarizing essay first, though. Based on "Torch Song," I understand why so many people hate Katie Roiphe. Her essay is about stealing a friend's boyfriend, but it's the way she tells it that made my lip curl. Here's someone who compliments her ex-friend and then immediately implies that that person was too fat to keep a man ... someone who compares a destroyed friendship to a school shooting, which is the most offensive comparison I have encountered in a long time ... an Ivy League graduate who does not know how to use a spell-checker. In short, her essay annoyed me on many levels. Jenny Offill's "End Days" is fascinating because the broken friendship is mixed up with fundamentalist Christianity and the Rapture. Dorothy Allison's "Dangerous" is gorgeously written. I'll have to reread Bastard Out of Carolina. I think the centerpiece of the book is Heather Abel's "Emily" and Emily Chenoweth's "Heather," because it was so interesting to read about the same friendship as described by two writers. It reminded me of Ann Patchett's Truth and Beauty. (I have to admit that I wouldn't want to be friends with Heather Abel because she seems so incredibly possessive and has such a zero-sum way of looking at the world.) And Jennifer Gilmore's "The Kindness of Strangers" is horrifying and funny at the same time. Imagine if you emerged from a month-long hospital stay to find out that your best friend had appropriated your medical emergency and created enough paintings about it to have an entire gallery show. Large intestines everywhere--whee!

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ciara

    of course i had to read this because i am kind of the elder stateswoman of friendships that don't last. in fact, in the three days it took me to read the book, one acquaintanceship (probably considered a friendship by the other person) crashed & burned, & another has been strained possibly to the breaking point. so, you know, i could kind of relate to a lot of what is in this book. many of the authors engaged in some very self-flagellating brutal honesty, & i think that's a good thing, because s of course i had to read this because i am kind of the elder stateswoman of friendships that don't last. in fact, in the three days it took me to read the book, one acquaintanceship (probably considered a friendship by the other person) crashed & burned, & another has been strained possibly to the breaking point. so, you know, i could kind of relate to a lot of what is in this book. many of the authors engaged in some very self-flagellating brutal honesty, & i think that's a good thing, because so often when a friendship falls apart, both parties portray themselves as hapless, innocent victims. everyone wants to tell themselves a story about how they are not to blame for being hurt or hurting others, & while it's true that sometimes you really do just accidentally throw your lot in with a total asshole, the larger reality is that sometimes people grow apart, or start to aggravate one another, or find that they actually just don't like each other. or betray each other. i can look back at some of the friendships i've had that didn't last & identify things i might have done differently to preserve the relationship--but when i balance those actions against the person i am or hope to be, i know i usually made the right choice, even if i wound up hurting someone or got hurt myself. i will acknowledge that the twenty stories in this book have a sort of cloying sameness. they all feel like they were edited by the same person, who stamped each story with her own slightly overwrought, wafty voice. most of them are written by mid-30s professional writers living in or around new york city. an amazing number of them relate to pregnancy, miscarriage, or abortion. which makes sense, i guess. i have noticed that pregnancy puts a lot of stress on female friendships. i'm not even pregnant yet but i have already started culling relationships i have with people who i suspect will not be supportive of me as a parent. but still--a little diversity in authorial voice & reason for friend break-up would have fleshed out this collection a little. it's nice to know, though, that i'm not the only lady who has lost friends, because sometimes i feel like i am. judging from some of the stories in this collection, it's a much more frequent occasion for me than it is for a lot of ladies (i, for one, never would have assumed that i would actually be life-long bosom buddies with my freshman year roommate from college; i feel like those kinds of friendships were built to be temporary), but it's still nice to know that pretty much everyone has these experiences & struggles with them.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    It's not often that I have dreams about a book I read. Or, at least, not ones that I remember. I had a very strange dream last night about a former friend that I can only explain by the reading of this book. Twenty women, writing an essay about the loss of an influential friendship and the aftereffects. Were they all masterfully written? Probably not. Did I see something relatable in every tale of loss? No. But there was something so human, so vulnerable about the authors opening up about their It's not often that I have dreams about a book I read. Or, at least, not ones that I remember. I had a very strange dream last night about a former friend that I can only explain by the reading of this book. Twenty women, writing an essay about the loss of an influential friendship and the aftereffects. Were they all masterfully written? Probably not. Did I see something relatable in every tale of loss? No. But there was something so human, so vulnerable about the authors opening up about their experiences that was very freeing to me, a person who makes friends pretty easily but has suffered losses both acted upon and acted out. It. was a good thing to reflect on relationships that have gone wrong or grown apart, to seek out life lessons or just enjoy the memories and experiences for what they brought to my life, and I really connected with a number of these stories and think it's a great thing to explore and not something that our society places adequate importance on. Friendship is a type of relationship that is so important and so often secretly lived out, as opposed to romantic relationships. It was great to delve into and now, OF COURSE, I have some newly discovered authors to check out. So much for whittling down my TBR shelf!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    When I moved back to Minnesota after a 3 month move to California, certain friendships that I had considered strong and valuable just weren't there any more. I had to assess what went wrong - or what worked - and for a while I felt myself mourning the loss of that friendship. It's a year later and I have several different groups of friends that nourish me in different ways. Once in a while, I will be reminded of this person, and get a pang of sadness. So a book titled "The Friend Who Got Away: Twe When I moved back to Minnesota after a 3 month move to California, certain friendships that I had considered strong and valuable just weren't there any more. I had to assess what went wrong - or what worked - and for a while I felt myself mourning the loss of that friendship. It's a year later and I have several different groups of friends that nourish me in different ways. Once in a while, I will be reminded of this person, and get a pang of sadness. So a book titled "The Friend Who Got Away: Twenty Women's True Life Tales of Friendships that Blew Up, Burned Out or Faded Away" seemed very appropriate for me. But this book is soooo boring. These women cheat on their friends, make fun of them, and make the friends into mockeries of their true selves. I found the writing ordinary and superficial, but worst of all, I felt like I could identify not with the authors, but instead with the friends who died or were cheated on or pushed away. Since it is a collection of essays by different authors, I have tried at least 5 stories and those I finished left me with a bad taste in my mouth. I won't be reading the rest.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Pickle Farmer

    A good collection of non-fiction essays. It felt a little East Coast, private college, Brooklyn writer heavy at times, but what can ya do. It made the essay set in Jordan really stand out. The pieces that most stood out to me were "End Days" by Jenny Offill (religious childhood friend), "Toads and Snakes" by Elizabeth Strout (very powerful tale of a long term friendship fading), and "Want" (about a copycat friend). The essays two estranged friends wrote about each other are also a cool concept. A good collection of non-fiction essays. It felt a little East Coast, private college, Brooklyn writer heavy at times, but what can ya do. It made the essay set in Jordan really stand out. The pieces that most stood out to me were "End Days" by Jenny Offill (religious childhood friend), "Toads and Snakes" by Elizabeth Strout (very powerful tale of a long term friendship fading), and "Want" (about a copycat friend). The essays two estranged friends wrote about each other are also a cool concept.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Miriam Cihodariu

    Year beginnings always seem to create a time of drawing lines, conclusions and learning the best which can be learned from the year which ended. I too was trying to make sense of a bad experience. This brings me to this book, which I found pretty unique: it neither bemoans losses of friendship in sentimental terms nor is it strictly academical (although I gulp down gender studies exploring social ties and so on, so it wouldn't have been a bore for me). I liked the fact that there is even a double Year beginnings always seem to create a time of drawing lines, conclusions and learning the best which can be learned from the year which ended. I too was trying to make sense of a bad experience. This brings me to this book, which I found pretty unique: it neither bemoans losses of friendship in sentimental terms nor is it strictly academical (although I gulp down gender studies exploring social ties and so on, so it wouldn't have been a bore for me). I liked the fact that there is even a double story here - the same friendship's end told by the two sides involved in the break. I also liked that female friendship is brought into the spotlight, I think popular culture shied away from it traditionally (in the past century), encouraging women to be in competition with one another and encouraging the myth that female friendship is always more shallow or doomed compared with male friendship. It's good that books like this bring it again into a brighter light, but it seems that culturally speaking, we still have a long way to go until we unlearn meanness to one another and until we learn to be kinder in our friendships with other women so that the friendships don't end. Sadly, some of us will probably never learn that.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Gina

    when i first came across my book, i thought who would want to read a book like that? why would someone want to read a book about broken friendships that never get resolved? how inspiring could that be? but the more i kept reading the book jacket and the intro, the more i found myself interested. i've been in similar situations before. i was curious to hear another's experience. i found this topic to be different-- something that was very common, yet rarely ever written. it's compiled of short st when i first came across my book, i thought who would want to read a book like that? why would someone want to read a book about broken friendships that never get resolved? how inspiring could that be? but the more i kept reading the book jacket and the intro, the more i found myself interested. i've been in similar situations before. i was curious to hear another's experience. i found this topic to be different-- something that was very common, yet rarely ever written. it's compiled of short stories of different women whose friendships have gone wrong or just completely evaporated which i found myself connecting to instantly. i've been guilty of doing the same ploys and have also felt like a victim in other situations. however unfortunate the conclusion may be, the stories were written so brutally honest, i really appreciated it.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Sammy Milne

    I loved the way these stories were put together. They spurred me on to examine my own friendships in life, and those friends "who got away" , who parted due to moving geographically, taking different paths, impact of sickness, and moving on. The read was painful at times. It made me value my friendships and it validated the importance of making an effort in loving, supporting, challenging, enjoying and spending time with my friends. I loved the way these stories were put together. They spurred me on to examine my own friendships in life, and those friends "who got away" , who parted due to moving geographically, taking different paths, impact of sickness, and moving on. The read was painful at times. It made me value my friendships and it validated the importance of making an effort in loving, supporting, challenging, enjoying and spending time with my friends.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    My dislike of this book is mainly based off what I thought the book was about. Perhaps if I didn't have a wrong impression about the content, I would have liked it more. I thought the book was about different authors reflecting back on friends that they lost and why those friends were lost. In the last year, I have lost several friends. While I mourn the loss of one of those friends, the others had served purposes in my life and were no longer needed (I know that sounds callous, but is true). For My dislike of this book is mainly based off what I thought the book was about. Perhaps if I didn't have a wrong impression about the content, I would have liked it more. I thought the book was about different authors reflecting back on friends that they lost and why those friends were lost. In the last year, I have lost several friends. While I mourn the loss of one of those friends, the others had served purposes in my life and were no longer needed (I know that sounds callous, but is true). For instance, one friend was someone that I could always talk to when I needed someone to listen. However, in the last year she got pregnant and spent her weeks calling to complain about being pregnant and how I should be grateful that I am infertile so that I can't experience being pregnant and then can't experience having children. She went as far as saying that God gave children to those that deserve it which explains my problem. Extreme example, but you get the point. It is a lost friendship, but it was one that needed to be lost. Reflecting back on the loss, reveals to me that probably I should have realized that while I thought she was a good listener, in fact she really liked to find out personal details that she could then gossip about to others. Sorry for the tangent. Ok, this book is not written in a reflection mode (which is what I wanted). It is written in a story form with different authors relating the specific stories where they lost a friendship. I found many of the stories to be about shallow friends and shallow experiences. Most of the stories were lacking any real depth. I hated the first story and hated it so much that it spoiled any attempt to read the entire book. The first story is about a girl that is drawn to the fat, goth chick in high school. Really?? That is what your friendship is based on? Because she is different and you want a friendship with someone that is different. Anyway, the author then slept with the goth chick's boyfriend even though she really didn't want to. Hmmm, I wonder why that friendship ended? Actually, I don't think it was really a friendship in the first place. What can I learn from this story? Well, don't become pseudo friends with someone because they are different and then don't sleep with their boyfriend because for some reason they would not like that. Sigh. Anyway, some of the other stories are a bit more in depth. But, they are simply stories of where people lost friends. There is no real reflection of why those friends were lost or what the benefits of losing those friends were.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Excellent anthology. I'm so inspired by the candidness of the writers to not only talk about their former friendships but also to be so upfront about their own transgressions. It is sad and moving and unfair and sweet and made me want to write my own story of the friendships in my life that have gone awry--if not to disclose and reveal and describe, then to discover what it is that actually happened. Highly recommend this. Excellent anthology. I'm so inspired by the candidness of the writers to not only talk about their former friendships but also to be so upfront about their own transgressions. It is sad and moving and unfair and sweet and made me want to write my own story of the friendships in my life that have gone awry--if not to disclose and reveal and describe, then to discover what it is that actually happened. Highly recommend this.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Dehlia

    Like any collection of written work, there are some real gems mixed among the common stones. After all, it includes a number of shining star writers! The premise of the collection caught my attention, and held it, recalling the dear friends I have held for decades and those that have slipped away. The format is ideal for getting read before falling asleep, between court hearings, or other short snippets.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Kassy

    This was hard to read in the sense that a lot of the stories rang really close to me and talked about aspects of friendship I haven’t really seen represented in books or film before.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

    I also didn't really like this book. I felt a lot of the women couldn't see what went wrong when I felt like it was obvious, or that the friendships ended over too trivial of a reason. Sure there were a couple that I truly felt for or could see myself in their shoes but for the most part it did nothing for me. The best one is a sense was the one that was told from both sides. There at least we got to see how each person interpreted the situation. I don't know if I agree that we assume friendships I also didn't really like this book. I felt a lot of the women couldn't see what went wrong when I felt like it was obvious, or that the friendships ended over too trivial of a reason. Sure there were a couple that I truly felt for or could see myself in their shoes but for the most part it did nothing for me. The best one is a sense was the one that was told from both sides. There at least we got to see how each person interpreted the situation. I don't know if I agree that we assume friendships are "sturdier" than romances. I think it's more like we have more friendships than romantic relationships (or at least I do/did) and in many cases these friendships last from childhood (which would be long before any serious romantic relationship occurs) through to our adult life. Does longevity mean "sturdier"? I have current friends that I've known since second grade and I'm sure they know a lot more about me than my husband does but I don't think my relationship with my husband is any less sturdy because of this. At this point I'd be just as upset over losing my husband as I would a long time friend. I expect them both to be loyal to me and I am to them. The main difference I guess is that in a true non-romantic friendship even when there are differences or disagreements the friends can usually work things out. They don't have to agree on everything or even compromise like one does in a romantic relationship.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Delores

    I managed to get about half way through this book but it just didn't hold my attention. Therefore, I stopped reading it. I saw this book in the library, thought it sounded interesting; a collection of essays by women about the friend who got away - we all have one don't we? I'm not sure what I was expecting but the books was a bit of a downer. After a while, all the stories seemed to mush together, sometimes I felt like they were over edited. The slightly more interesting part was in the middle I managed to get about half way through this book but it just didn't hold my attention. Therefore, I stopped reading it. I saw this book in the library, thought it sounded interesting; a collection of essays by women about the friend who got away - we all have one don't we? I'm not sure what I was expecting but the books was a bit of a downer. After a while, all the stories seemed to mush together, sometimes I felt like they were over edited. The slightly more interesting part was in the middle where two friends each recollected their memories of their friendship that dissolved. I think the book would have been better if all the essays were presented this way so you could "hear" both sides of the story and really understand why the friendship went south. Perhaps next time.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ana

    I had recently gone through the major loss of a friendship - a friend of 22 years had "broken up" with me. I spotted this title at a library sale and thought that reading through these women's stories of broken friendships might help console me. I think what I really wanted was to see an example like mine on the page and well, that's impossible. I'd have to write it myself wouldn't I? ;o) Some of these were very well written and made you feel for the women involved while others just smacked of pet I had recently gone through the major loss of a friendship - a friend of 22 years had "broken up" with me. I spotted this title at a library sale and thought that reading through these women's stories of broken friendships might help console me. I think what I really wanted was to see an example like mine on the page and well, that's impossible. I'd have to write it myself wouldn't I? ;o) Some of these were very well written and made you feel for the women involved while others just smacked of pettiness and ridiculousness. But I guess that's how friendships can be, so I can't fault this book too much. Still, in the end it didn't help at all, so for that reason I can't recommend it. But then again, it was unlikely anything would :/

  18. 4 out of 5

    K M

    More like a 4.5 - most of the essays were really good. Loved this paragraph from Patricia Marx: If you and I ever become friends, we will remain friends forever. This is not because you are such a terrific person, though I'm sure that you are. (I've heard great things about you!) No. The credit-I hope you won't mind-must be assigned to me. I am the most easygoing, accommodating, nonjudgmental, and unassuming friend in the world, and if we ever meet, you better agree or else. This made me laugh out More like a 4.5 - most of the essays were really good. Loved this paragraph from Patricia Marx: If you and I ever become friends, we will remain friends forever. This is not because you are such a terrific person, though I'm sure that you are. (I've heard great things about you!) No. The credit-I hope you won't mind-must be assigned to me. I am the most easygoing, accommodating, nonjudgmental, and unassuming friend in the world, and if we ever meet, you better agree or else. This made me laugh out loud - a bit of comic relief among the many poignant and thought-provoking essays.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Judith

    "I had a friend once with whom I was certain I would grow old. The reason I was certain was that by the time we were thirty we had already known each other fifteen years, and were just arriving at the starting point." "Mark Twain wrote in Pudd'nhead Wilson, 'The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.'" "The passing of time or an expensive therapist may make us believe that we can "I had a friend once with whom I was certain I would grow old. The reason I was certain was that by the time we were thirty we had already known each other fifteen years, and were just arriving at the starting point." "Mark Twain wrote in Pudd'nhead Wilson, 'The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.'" "The passing of time or an expensive therapist may make us believe that we can erase an unpleasant past, but ex-friends are nagging reminders that this is a false hope. They know our history, and they remember it. And for this reason they haunt us."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Jen

    Have you ever gotten those chain emails that say, "Friends are in our life for a reason or a season or a lifetime"? Well, this book contains stories about those "reason" and "season" friends. These tales made me feel less bad about the friends I've left behind or have been left behind by--it's a very universal experience, a part of being human. But also, by the book's end, I was getting pretty bummed out because it was just one sad story after another. However, it was interesting to read about t Have you ever gotten those chain emails that say, "Friends are in our life for a reason or a season or a lifetime"? Well, this book contains stories about those "reason" and "season" friends. These tales made me feel less bad about the friends I've left behind or have been left behind by--it's a very universal experience, a part of being human. But also, by the book's end, I was getting pretty bummed out because it was just one sad story after another. However, it was interesting to read about the motivations, justifications, feelings, and reflections of the other people in these situations.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Lynne-marie

    I began with violent enthusiasm, meaning to come out the other side writing several chapters of my own dedicated to several of my friendships: "Dead and gon, Lady. Dead and gone." But as I pushed on, I began to sweat internally as I read, and my dreams were wildly troubled. I began talking in my sleep. Things were being said and done in my dreams that were dangerous to me . . . dangerous and even more than malicious: evil. And they were somehow being done by Old friendships are dangerous territ I began with violent enthusiasm, meaning to come out the other side writing several chapters of my own dedicated to several of my friendships: "Dead and gon, Lady. Dead and gone." But as I pushed on, I began to sweat internally as I read, and my dreams were wildly troubled. I began talking in my sleep. Things were being said and done in my dreams that were dangerous to me . . . dangerous and even more than malicious: evil. And they were somehow being done by Old friendships are dangerous territory. Caveat Emptor.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Hmrk

    This is a comforting book for any woman who has ever had a friendship fizzle. I've found that though these experiences are common and hurtful, many women do not discuss them readily, maybe out of embarassment, shame, or because they've let the relationship go and want it behind them. Whatever the case may be, this book reminds us that some people may only be meant to share in one stage or our life. Though we are taught that friendship is forever, it takes more than one person who is committed to This is a comforting book for any woman who has ever had a friendship fizzle. I've found that though these experiences are common and hurtful, many women do not discuss them readily, maybe out of embarassment, shame, or because they've let the relationship go and want it behind them. Whatever the case may be, this book reminds us that some people may only be meant to share in one stage or our life. Though we are taught that friendship is forever, it takes more than one person who is committed to this adage.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jeffe Kennedy

    I used to read - and write - a lot of these sorts of essays. Personal essays, about life-changing events. This collection focuses on the theme of friendships, how they end and why. I really loved reading this. I found every essay illuminating in some way and the women who wrote them - including some who've come up quite a bit in the world since, like Elizabeth Strout - answered some of my questions by exploring their own. I greatly appreciated their generosity because many of these stories had t I used to read - and write - a lot of these sorts of essays. Personal essays, about life-changing events. This collection focuses on the theme of friendships, how they end and why. I really loved reading this. I found every essay illuminating in some way and the women who wrote them - including some who've come up quite a bit in the world since, like Elizabeth Strout - answered some of my questions by exploring their own. I greatly appreciated their generosity because many of these stories had to be very difficult to tell. Highly recommend.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kendall

    Really wanted to like this. Like, really really wanted to. As a human who hasn't left many romantic relationships behind, the breakups that really sting have been those with friends. Those are the stories I wanted to hear about. In the end I think this collection fell flat. A lot of these stories felt like they were written by a very unique subset of WASPy women. I flat out hated some of the stories and the characters (which might be the point), but there were a few redeeming ones. I won't rerea Really wanted to like this. Like, really really wanted to. As a human who hasn't left many romantic relationships behind, the breakups that really sting have been those with friends. Those are the stories I wanted to hear about. In the end I think this collection fell flat. A lot of these stories felt like they were written by a very unique subset of WASPy women. I flat out hated some of the stories and the characters (which might be the point), but there were a few redeeming ones. I won't reread this. It might be worth an afternoon but not more than that.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    This collection of essays was more depressing than I thought it would be. I guess I was hoping for some interesting tales where women dissected female relationships, but it wasn't so. There was some reflection in the essays, but not enough. The stories weren't as engaging as I'd hoped they be, but were sad, half seemed to involve miscarriages, and half of the women lived and struggled in New York City. The sad situations were too similar and didn't keep me very interested. This collection of essays was more depressing than I thought it would be. I guess I was hoping for some interesting tales where women dissected female relationships, but it wasn't so. There was some reflection in the essays, but not enough. The stories weren't as engaging as I'd hoped they be, but were sad, half seemed to involve miscarriages, and half of the women lived and struggled in New York City. The sad situations were too similar and didn't keep me very interested.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Findley

    Disregard the terrible cover that makes this look like a girl's guide to running with the big boys in finance or something; this is a wonderful collection of thoughtful, funny, terribly sad essays. The women in these essays reflect on the close friend they no longer talk to, what led them to that point, and how that former friend still affects them. Great stuff. Disregard the terrible cover that makes this look like a girl's guide to running with the big boys in finance or something; this is a wonderful collection of thoughtful, funny, terribly sad essays. The women in these essays reflect on the close friend they no longer talk to, what led them to that point, and how that former friend still affects them. Great stuff.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Schultz

    I don't know a woman that can't relate to this book. Some of the stories are breathtakingly sad, others leave you thinking, "huh?" much as I am sure the "left" friend felt. All are complex and beautiful and true. It made me think about girls/women I have known that don't exist in my life anymore, and it made me feel better and worse about that. I don't know a woman that can't relate to this book. Some of the stories are breathtakingly sad, others leave you thinking, "huh?" much as I am sure the "left" friend felt. All are complex and beautiful and true. It made me think about girls/women I have known that don't exist in my life anymore, and it made me feel better and worse about that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    I loved this book, so beautiful and touching. It made me realize how fragile friendships can really be.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    HEARTBREAKING! BUT SO GOOD!

  30. 4 out of 5

    Julie Beals

    The other day I was curled up on the couch, reading this book, and my roommate walked in. She studied my face and then said: "Julie, is that book making it better or making it worse?" Ha! A fair question. This is the first edited collection I've ever read that was organized around a theme. Sure, the American Best Short Story collections are all organized around a theme, but it's never reflected in a subtitle or cover image, and if you didn't read the guest editor's intro, you'd never guess what it The other day I was curled up on the couch, reading this book, and my roommate walked in. She studied my face and then said: "Julie, is that book making it better or making it worse?" Ha! A fair question. This is the first edited collection I've ever read that was organized around a theme. Sure, the American Best Short Story collections are all organized around a theme, but it's never reflected in a subtitle or cover image, and if you didn't read the guest editor's intro, you'd never guess what it was. Also, the guest editors are all novelists, so, you know. The theme isn't going to be concrete. This theme was concrete. Twenty stories about friendships that have either fizzled out or hit a titanium wall and gone splat. All of them—interestingly—written by women. I kept wondering if the collection was originally intended to only include women, or if that just happened naturally, by way of the editors' culling. I kind of find the latter hard to believe, because plenty of guys have pithy things to say about friendship. So, my guess is that the plan was to only hear from women. My favorite part of the collection was hearing women's accounts of former friends that now ignore them in public. I know, I know. Sadistic of me. But I've had that happen, and one instance in particular ended up being one of the most rattling experiences I've ever had. It felt like a giant dog had taken hold of my viscera, snarled and thrashed them about, and then dropped them on the concrete. I've been mugged at knifepoint and felt calmer! So, it made me feel a little more sane to hear true accounts of similar events. My favorite story—because it was the most heart-wrenching, and it almost, almost contended with my own—involved a woman that was speaking on a writer's panel. She saw her former best friend, of many decades, sitting in the audience. The writer was trying to hold it together and figure out how she was going to approach the former friend—whether she'd go in for a hug, whether she'd force a smile on her face right away—when she saw the friend stand up from her seat, slip into the aisle, and leave the building. They never spoke again. I don't know, yo. People are com-pli-cated. But this book more or less provided me with what I was after: a little orienting to what is commonplace and what is not. And, the big picture tagline from this collection is, 'A lot of friends leave, even extraordinarily close friends, and sometimes they leave (or you leave) in a way that you'll never have total peace about.'

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