Thursday, September 20, 2012
After moving to Chicago to be with her boyfriend, Rachel Bertsche realized that she was missing out on the female friendships she had left behind - specifically a BFF (best friend forever, if you're living in the stone age). So she decides for one year to take every opportunity available in her city to make new friends by going on one friend date a week. She goes on friendship speed dates, joins a friending website, and even rents a friend. The book chronicles her experiences and how her search changes her life and her feelings about friendship.
I was totally prepared to bond with this book. I haven't always had a BFF and there have been times when I felt like the only girl in the world without a group of besties. I went into it hoping for some identification with the author and to maybe learn some things about how she improves her friendships. But I came out of the book really convinced that I am totally happy with my friendships. I've got the Nesties, I've got Bestie, I've got friends at church, at the dog park, and at work, and I have Sugar Bear. I mean honestly, can you think of a better BFF than a sister? Talk about shared history - we have Sugar Bear's entire life in common.
I thought the writing was nice. I wasn't over-impressed, but it was certainly well thought out and detailed. Pretty much what you'd expect from this type of memoir. Easy to read and follow.
It was just ok for me. I didn't identify with the author the way I wanted to. It seemed to me that she already had two best friends, they just didn't live near her. And she had several groups of close friends that she spent time with on a regular basis. I didn't really get why she felt like she needed new friends, but I think the concept was interesting. I just got bored of reading about every single one of her friend dates. I think the book would make a better blog or even be better as a shorter book. The different methods she uses to make friends are all interesting, but I didn't think I needed to read about all 52 friend dates.
What I did find interesting and did identify with was how the internet figured into Bertsche's experiences. I met some of my very closest and dearest friends through the internet. They are people who would fall in the BFF/can call any time of the day or night category. I've also used the internet to meet local people who have the same interests I do - in particular, other people with Great Danes. There's a local group of Dane owners who meet up at the dog park occasionally that we got involved with after finding them online.
I think people really underestimate the walls that are broken down for friendship by the internet. Some of my closest friends live in Alabama and the mid-West and even in Canada, but through text, Google chat, Twitter, and Google Hangout, I see them more than I see many of my local friends. It's not the same as if we all lived in the same city, but it's really the next best thing.
It's an interesting concept and an ok read, but I think it dragged on way too long. I would have preferred it in blog format (it seems like one of those blogs that got turned into a book) or if she had taken out some of the less interesting stories. But if these kind of memoirs interest you, you may want to give it a try.
I won an ARE of this one in a contest hosted by Random House on Shelf Awareness.
Posted by Julie G at 7:01 PM