Monday, September 14, 2009

The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow

This non-fiction selection focuses on 11 women from the town of Ames, Iowa, who have maintained their friendship since at least high school. Now in their late forties, the women have spread all over the country, and their lives have all taken different directions, yet they remain bonded as a group.

Zaslow, who co-wrote The Last Lecture with Randy Pausch and also pens the Moving On column for the Wall Street Journal, selected this group of women and their friendship based on their, well, averageness. Representing the last wave of the baby boomers, growing up in the Midwest, Zaslow felt these women's experiences would connect with a large number of people.

While the book features this group of women, including more intimate portraits of 4 of them, it also includes some data and information on the very nature of friendships, particularly comparing women's friendships with men's friendships, and the tendency for women's relationships to stand the test of time. He also includes some studies on the benefits of maintaining friendships over long periods of time.

I have to say I did not really love this book. I did not really connect with any of the women, (although some of them seem like perfectly lovely people) and I think most of us already know that women stay more connected in their friendships than men. There were some interesting, poignant and humorous anecdotes, observations and dynamics from the group, but the whole work just did not resonate. This could be an interesting choice for book clubs, however. There is a reader's guide and other information at:

Time to read some fiction!

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