Girlfriends

Published in Booklovers Magazine; Aug/Sept/Oct 1998.

Book Review: GIRLFREINDS by Carmen Renee Berry and Tamara Treader, Wildcat Canyon Press, Berkely, California, 1995, 229 pgs, $12.95 (soft cover).

It has been said of the baby boom generation, that no prior group has had more propensity to turn inward, to analyze and think about every aspect of their lives and their relationships. It has also been said that this penchant has resulted in the profusion of books being marketed which dissect and analyze it all.

For example, books which detail sibling angst and birth order, the relationships between mothers and sons, daughters and fathers and every other variation one can think of, are well represented on the shelves of the local book shop. Add to that the multitude of titles which study the intricacies and complexities of work and social relationships and we have enough reading material to carry us to the millennium and beyond.

Perhaps the book under review is a perfect example of the result of that deep yearning to figure things out. It’s a little book and perfect as a gift which probably has added to its brisk sales. My initial thought, after finishing the last page and hugging it a bit, was that I wanted to share it with my own treasured girlfriends.

The book is tidily divided into various categories which eventually cover every possible source of friendship and stage of development from girlhood through adult life. Each section, aptly named, covers a specific time of our life or type of friendship.

The first section, “Telling our Stories,” provides a perfect explanation of why we need to regularly see our women friends. This could be useful when discussing our needs to the men in our lives who probably secretly wish that male friendships were more like that. Reading the book made me feel lucky once again.

“Discovering Friends” highlights the differences and similarities we find in each other that seem to draw us to certain people at certain stages of our lives. “Sharing Girlhood Adventures” recounts how we became the kind of friend we are. It also helps us recall who was instrumental in developing our friendship style which began as a young girl, how we got through some tough times and how we changed due to the influence of a friend.

“Outlasting Transition” discusses how friends help us survive life changes and losses. This section also investigates our feelings when we lose touch with a treasured friend. Everyone can relate to how you run into someone or get a phone call or letter out of the blue and it’s like no time has passed and you just pick up right where you left off. Finally, the pain of ending friendships when there is a misunderstanding is handled with a short but honest discussion.

Lastly, “Women’s Rites,” discusses the importance of rituals and celebrations in maintaining friendships. Ideas such as book discussion groups and other friendship rituals sounded nice.

The stories ran from touching to mundane, from sad to hilarious but seemed to only scratch the surface. One must wonder what kind of book would have resulted had there been fewer stories but with more depth. Perhaps there would have been less repetition.

One of the authors is a former licensed psychotherapist who is the author of several books including one entitled: When Helping You is Hurting Me. The other is a publisher and intellectual property attorney. Though they indicate that they conducted many interviews, little or no information was given on how they chose the people interviewed or how they conducted their research. A bibliography, both fiction and non-fiction is included and the last page gives an address to send “an extraordinary story of friendship you would like to share,” for any new editions of the book that might result.

The book is a quick and easy read. It served as a panoramic trip through my own friendship history. More than once or twice, I remembered a friendship I had not thought about for a long time. It was a nostalgic and lovely trip into the past, through the memories of friends recalled. For that alone, it was worth the time.

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1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Diana Schramer
    Oct 21, 2014 @ 16:18:41

    What an insightful, thought-provoking review. I just reserved a copy of this book from the library and can’t wait to read it!

    Like

    Reply

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