Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.


Friday, August 14, 2009

The Friends We Keep (Book Review)

Title: The Friends We Keep
Author: Sarah Zacharias Davis
Publisher: Waterbrook Press

First sentence: My eyes flooded with tears that began rolling down my face.

My synopsis: This book was about - you guessed it - friends. But not just any friends - women and their friends. Why we need them, how we make them, how we keep them, and even why we lose them.

Each chapter shared some one's story that was relevant to the point that the author was trying to make. A lot of the stories I could relate to, or at the very least, knew someone who would fit in it. She explores a lot of the different sides to friendships, like the different ways we can love a friend, why we might need a particular friend - or why that friend might need us. What we get from a relationship - do we give or take from it? The book ends with how and why we need to be friends with our self.

The chapter I really like was titled "The Lesson of Lucy Van Pelt". I am sure that many of you remember Lucy from the Peanuts comic strip and what we are talking about here is gossip. This is something that I know I am guilty of and it is so easy to fall into gossiping about someone else. We can cover it up by making it look like we are really just "inquiring" because we are worried about someone or we try to cover up our gossip by "sugarcoating" it.

If you're not from the south, it goes something like this: "Since Anne Marie put on all that weight, she just looks poured into those pants. Someone needs to tell her those look terrible, bless her heart." Or, "Poor Donna Jo's husband has been cheating on her with his secretary, though I can't say I'm surprised. Men like women who cook for them, and she was always a dreadful cook, bless her heart." Add the word "little" and you can get away with saying even worse. "Shelby's wedding was sweet. Such a shame it will never last, bless her little heart." You get the idea. (The Friends We Keep, p44)

She ends this chapter with a story about a woman who had a casual friend that she had known for years. They weren't particularly close, and had really only kept in contact through mutual friends. When the woman was having a tough time in her life she was confiding her problems in only her close friends. This casual friend and her husband were at a dinner party when someone asked about how she was doing. This casual friend immediately jumped in and said that it was not appropriate for dinner conversation, and stopped any story telling that might have occurred. The woman relates "I felt a connection to her, instantly closer than I ever had in all the years I'd known her." (p48) This really touched me and made me take a closer look at things I may or may not have said over the years.

What if connection becomes greater by keeping secrets and sharing something personal to you rather than sharing what is personal to an absent other? What if power comes from empowering others rather than dominating them? What if friendship is cemented by rescuing a friend's reputation when it may be on the line? What if the glue that holds us together is discretion, no disclosure? (p48-49)

My thoughts: This book made me take a closer look at why I feel I don't have a lot of close friends. Even as a teen, I had just a handful of girls that I would call actually friends. I grew up in a small town, where we knew everybody - but I didn't feel like I fit in well with most of them. This feeling continued in college where I still only can recall 3-4 real girlfriends. It did make me see how I could benefit from having more friends, and that I should work on these relationships. Any thing worthwhile does take time. I was surprised by how many responses I have gotten on my give away for this book from women who said that they also did not have many friends, or had trouble making friends. (Giveaway for The Friends We Keep ends August 31)

The Friends We Keep
Publisher/Publication Date: Waterbrook Press, July 2009
ISBN: 978-1-4000-7439-6
224 pages


MoziEsmé said...

Thanks for the review - I've struggled with the whole friendship thing myself and think this would be a really good book to check out.

Missy said...

This book sounds great! I am not sure that I could read it, though...I don't have any close girlfriends left. I had 2...one had a child and now we barely have time to talk. The other just kind of vanished...she stopped answering emails, or taking my calls. This was after she got remarried. It has bothered me a long time. :( I think that if I read this book I would really boo hoo.

Kristin said...

This sounds like a great read. I will have to check it out. Thanks for the great book info. you share!

Kelly said...

Great review, it made me think of my own friendships. My childhood friends all drifted away, and it seems like pretty much now my friends are also my family. That's probably weird, but I'd rather hang out with hubby, adult kids and teen aged kids than anyone else!

rhapsodyinbooks said...

Very nice review, thanks!!!


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