cover image The Girls: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship

The Girls: A True Story of Lifelong Friendship

Nina Barrett / Author Simon & Schuster $22.5 (288p) ISBN 978-0

Barrett (I Wish Someone Had Told Me) explores social changes of the last three decades through the lives of six girlfriends who originally met in the 1950s as students at a Roman Catholic elementary school in an unidentified locale. Their dreams of finding ideal happiness within marriage--hatched during a decade considered by many to have been repressive--were for some affected by career aspirations and, for others, by an awareness of their sexual needs. Although the author spent two years interviewing her subjects and differentiates them by describing, for example, Carole as ""the nice one"" or Maude as ""the sophisticated one,"" their separate voices never become distinct from one another. Several individual experiences--Donna's decision to leave her husband, Maude's commitment to single motherhood--are of interest, but the text is marred by uneven writing and an overabundance of reconstructed quotations from long-ago episodes in the girls' lives. Barrett documents the emerging feminist movement by including excerpts from articles about Twiggy, Joan Kennedy and other high-profile women of the time. (Sept.)