Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Book Review: The Girls From Ames
I recently had the opportunity to review the book, The Girls from Amesby Jeffrey Zaslow. This book is the true story of 11 girls who grew up together in Ames, Iowa. The women (well, 10 of them, 1 passed away in her early 20s) are now in their forties and living across the US, but still maintain their friendship with regular reunions. Scattered throughout the book, the author has quoted various studies that have proven the health benefits of female friendships.
These girls are the ones that many of us disliked in high school. They were their own little clique that others could not be a part of. Even a few of the girls felt like they lived on the "edge", not fully integrated into the group until later. The girls were not disliked individually, but the exclusivity of the group is what caused others to dislike them.
The book delves into what these girls felt and experienced on an individual level and how their friendships grew. As their lives, and the book, progressed, the girls went their separate ways and experienced a wide range of experiences. There are marriages, the death of a friend, divorces, new babies, illness and death of one of their children, and personal illnesses that they have experienced. By getting to know the girls individually, it makes it a bit easier to look back on own high school years and look at the "it" girls a bit differently.
I also found that I was often thinking about my own friendships from childhood. Aside from facebook, there is really only one girl who I have maintained a friendship with through the years, but there are several who I know I could call if I needed them. My friends and I led somewhat "tamer" lives than the girls from Ames, but their stories are still relatable.
As for the writing style of this book, it was a bit different than I am used to. The writing itself is good, but as the book was compiled, there is a lot of overlapping and repetition. Even the studies that are quoted seem repetitious. Having said this, it is still a pretty easy read and while re-reading the same things over and over was a tad annoying, the book is still good. I walked away from it with a greater appreciation for my children and my friends, as well as a new perspective on people in general. I cannot say I highly recommend this book, but you will not be disappointed by it.
***Disclaimer*** I received a copy of the book The Girls from Amesfor review. No monetary compensation was received and my opinion was not influenced in any way.