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3.0 out of 5 starsSelf indulgent Cry for Help
Reviewed in the United States on October 27, 2013
Given the fantastic reviews this book received, I was ultimately disappointed. On the positive end, Sonnenberg has a way with words, and every once in a while she captures a moment or turn of phrase that is memorable. However, the individual stories of each of the failed female friendships are told in a superficial and overly predictable fashion, showcasing a confused sexuality and sense of self. The disjointed presentation creates a confusing timeline, and other than the fact that Sonnenberg cannot understand why each of these relationships stop working, it becomes tedious and depressing. While I admire Sonnenberg for her courage in exposing the more vulnerable aspects of her life, I had a hard time finishing the book, and was left with the hope that if even 50% of the facts of the stories are true, that the author is getting therapy.
At times this book was self indulgent and I thought to myself how shallow the relationships seemed. As I read further I discovered her relationships changed, some for the better, some for the worse. My opinion changed and I found many of the friendships very relatable. It made me stop and examine the women in my life and how they ' matter'. Women and friendships are often complicated. The author stripped hers bare so we can see inside a woman's soul during different stages of her life. It's interesting too that her satisfaction and appreciation changes as she matures or has life experiences to measure their significance by.
I would recommend this book to women of all ages who want to explore the importance of our friendships and relationships.
I've long thought about the nature of women's friendships,and am always seeking new insight that can help me understand my own friendships better, both the failed ones and those that endure. So I was excited when I saw this book advertised in The New Yorker. The book disappointed me though, maybe because the author's own challenges seemed more in the spotlight than the dynamics of her encounters and relationships. Alas, Sonnenberg's oeuvre was a start, but I find myself still waiting for that great book on women's friendships.
The majority of books out there, even if not memoirs, on friendships are so similar - they categorize types of friends, trivialize the meaning they add to our lives, and often recommend 'dumping' those friends that simply don't work for us. In regards to that, this book was both astounding and refreshing. It's real, intimate, not perfect, but brave and something I'd highly recommend. Women don't always articulate the depth of their friendships properly. Therefore, they are minimized and trivialized much of the time in popular culture. Often - friendships are portrayed as something to fill the time before marriage... and then only when convenient during marriage - oftentimes, a huge support system to keeping an otherwise arduous marriage together.
Sonnenberg captures the truth - that friendship is it's own relationship, it's own story, with it's high and lows - with nuances and emotion as strong as romance. Western culture fears this truth. Susanna Sonnenberg opens herself up to the readers, exposing not all beautiful sides of herself, and I think the book is a winner because of it. She has an awareness more people need to have - of what her role in failed friendships were. And her writing is lyrical and poetic at times. It is a memoir of true depth and achievement.
Well written and at times quite intense, it is the subject that is uneven. Time is not at all sequential and it is difficult to follow. That said, it is an in-depth analysis of the influences women have on.each other...sometime render but typically critical. I just feel.there is.more.detail.and less.structure than I.needed.to enjoy the book..if the topic of female relationships interests you, go for it.
I had high hopes for this book. I don't know if I had confused the author with someone else, and I did find her parental nightmares heartening as it makes my family look a little less dysfunctional. I found her relationships based on what a person could do for her versus her putting in the time with a friend. I had read an Anne Lamott "Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith" and learned a lot more about a tough life and deep friendships.
Reviewed in the United States on February 23, 2013
I found the book well written and interesting. Towards the end it becomes repetitive and one begins to wonder if the author's relationships with human beings around her have always been difficult and ended sadly.
Susanna Sonnenberg uses enticing , clever prose to deliver a raw, brutally honest and fabulous look into her many friendships over the years. Her insights into friendships and self will resonate with women everywhere. She is a gifted story teller.