THE FRIEND WHO GOT AWAY: Twenty Women Tell the True Stories Behind Their Blowups, Burnouts, and Slow Fades

Jenny Offill, Author, Elissa Schappell, Author . Doubleday $24.95 (320p) ISBN 978-0-385-51186-5

The reasons are myriad: one friend slept with the other's boyfriend; money caused an argument; friends became romantically involved with each other; lives and priorities changed; a bond simply "unraveled." For the women who contribute to this thoughtful anthology, the end of friendship—no matter its cause—is often distressing, and that feeling always lingers. Yet such a bleak subject has yielded a trove of mostly inquisitive, mindful writing, a selection of very personal pieces about a painful and fairly universal experience. Some writers remember childhood friendships: Diana Abu Jaber recalls her trials as an expatriate kid in Jordan, torn between a playmate who spoke her language and another whose words she couldn't understand yet with whom she felt closer; Nicole Keeter writes of her connection with and later break from the only other black girl in her fifth-grade class. Others evoke friendships from college and adulthood, such as Heather Abel and PW Forecasts editor Emily Chenoweth, who, in separate essays, delve into the circumstances that led to their friendship and its demise. "For a long time... my love for Heather was a piece of glass in my heart; it hurt every time I moved," writes Chenoweth. Though often sad when read in succession, these pieces are deeply affecting. Montaigne said friendship "feeds the spirit"; the same applies to this engrossing collection. (On sale May 17)

Reviewed on: 02/07/2005
Release date: 05/01/2005
Genre: Nonfiction
Open Ebook - 185 pages - 978-0-307-41937-8
Paperback - 295 pages - 978-0-7679-1719-3
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