cover image MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend

MWF Seeking BFF: My Yearlong Search for a New Best Friend

Rachel Bertsche. Ballantine, $15 trade paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-345-52494-2

In this sweet memoir, New Yorker Bertsche tells of moving to Chicago in 2007 to be with her future husband and leaving behind her closest childhood friends. In her new city, the 20-something author had just one friend, and most significantly, no gal pal to share in the milestone of her first wedding dress fitting. So begins her quest to go on 52 “dates” in the coming year to try to create for herself in Chicago what she had: to find “a Kate to my Allie. Blair to my Serena.” The philosophy she learns along the way is twofold. First, say yes to everything. In socially shy Bertsche’s case, this means taking a huge step outside the familiar and calling on buddies to set her up, finagling invites to book clubs, renting friends (literally), and chatting up random people. The second part is that to grow the friendships, she can’t rely on anyone else to reach out to her and has to do all of the follow-up, at least initially. What she gets, in addition to a social network, is a shifting understanding of what she needs from friendships and a recognition of some of her flaws. This allows her to be a better friend and more appreciative of time alone and with her spouse. Bertsche’s pursuit is grounded in what most everyone is looking for—more fulfilling relationships and a sense of belonging—and she bravely provides some of the tools, including openness, persistence, and self-awareness, needed to attain these rewards. (Jan.)