I Know Just What You Mean: The Power of Friendship in Women's Lives

Ellen Goodman, Author, Patricia O'Brien, Joint Author Simon & Schuster $25 (304p) ISBN 978-0-684-84287-5
In this warm, honest and engaging book, Pulitzer Prize-winning Boston Globe columnist Goodman (Value Judgments) and novelist O'Brien (The Candidate's Wife) use their 27-year friendship as a starting point for reflecting on the importance of women's camraderie. Platonic friendship, they write, matters a great deal: ""Women today--with lives often in transition--depend on friends more than ever."" Starting with the moment they met (in their 30s), when they were both mid-career journalism fellows at Harvard, the authors take turns at the keyboard, telling their story. O'Brien, a Chicago-based mother of four, didn't graduate from college until she was 30; Goodman was a single mother and Radcliffe grad. The women remained crucial in each other's lives after returning to their respective careers and cities, and helped each other through career changes, parenting and remarriages. Beyond their own relationship, they examine those of other women: including Oprah Winfrey's friendship with Gayle King, Susan B. Anthony's with Elizabeth Cady Stanton and the bonds between more ordinary folk (welfare mothers, college students, preschoolers). Along the way, Goodman and O'Brien discuss how women listen, talk, care for and empathize with their women friends--and how they compete with and betray one another (viz. Linda Tripp). The result is a skillful, unsentimental tribute to the strength of the authors' relationship. Heavy on insight and light on psychological jargon, this book is an intelligent, observant read--and sure to get a lot of attention in the coming months. Agent, Esther Newberg. 8-city tour. (May)
Reviewed on: 05/01/2000
Release date: 05/01/2000
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 558 pages - 978-0-7838-9138-5
Paperback - 304 pages - 978-0-7432-0171-1
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