From the bestselling "immensely gifted" (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times) author of Her Last Death comes a stunningly candid, compulsively readable, intensely provocative book about female friendships.
A ruthless and illuminating exploration of the friendships that dominated, influenced, nourished, inspired, haunted - and sometimes tore her apart - Susanna Sonnenberg has written a book as searing and superb as her first book about her mother, Her Last Death. Childhood friendships, friendships with older women, friendships that play out with the passion and intensity of love affairs, the friendships between new mothers - each has its own subtleties, its own lessons that Sonnenberg examines and understands with astounding acuity. Sonnenberg's style is investigative and ruminative; the result is candid and fearlessly observed portraits of the nuances and complexities of friendships that become universally recognizable.
For women of all ages, She Matters is testimony to the emotional significance of the sometimes intense and powerful bonds of female friendships - and their essential role they play in our journey to adulthood, and our deepening humanity.
I applaud the unusual theme and structure of this book, written as a series of relationships between women, not necessarily in chronological progression, but unusual and valid in its exploration of female bonding. Many books explore this theme from a male-female angle, but this is my first encounter with an essentially all-female memoir.
I've always been interested in the life cycles of relationships, how they begin, how they maintain, what leads either to their demise, or to their success. While we always seem to want success for all relationships, it's the downside, the failures, that make the good story. And as I am a bit challenged in the "good friends" department, this book had immediate appeal, so I gleefully grabbed it from audible's digital shelf.
But while I value the book's premise as a good thing, I think the author lets the reader down by lack of detail. In many cases I was left wondering "what happened??" and "why"?? I kept re-reading to see if I missed anything, and never found the over-rated "closure" or even a resolution to the issues. Perhaps such details were considered but sloughed off as interfering with the smooth flow of the writing, and I can see how that would happen - Sonnenberg is a gifted writer with a musical sense of pace - but I learned absolutely nothing about what makes a friendship fall apart, other than the typical divergence of interests that happens between two people as they enter different life phases. We all know that one.
The reader, at least this reader, could have benefitted from the back story of the initial rift between Sonnenberg and her mother. It's a possible imprint for the series of broken ties between women, and perhaps I need to go back and re-read "Her Last Death" to re-acquaint myself with this abortive relationship.
So I would proceed with caution with this book. It's good reading, good writing, and good narration, but something's missing that left me frustrated.
16 of 20 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
She Matters is an unmistakable friend to the listener - an enduring companion to one who wonders about the nature of those who come close. I was profoundly touched. The way I was invited to experience the transient seemed only to intensify intimacy and as I neared the end of this tender, blazing and sometime wearisome relationship, I did not want to say goodbye. I have returned to listen again. Thank you Susanna Sonnenberg.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
Would you listen to She Matters again? Why?
yes i do because the story was good and i had a great experience listening to
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Would you try another book from Susanna Sonnenberg and/or Susanna Sonnenberg?
No. No. Please no.
What do you think your next listen will be?
Anything but this!
What character would you cut from She Matters?
They all come across as exactly the same- the narrator obsessively whines about every facet of every gal pal that she's ever had- it's no wonder the friendships didn't work out
Any additional comments?
Pleaase folks, don't waste your time!!
9 of 13 people found this review helpful
What would have made She Matters better?
I'm just going to make a general review here.
Why would a publisher think listening to this whiny, conflicted, selfish woman would be a good use of a reader's time and money? I don't know. I dutifully listened because it was a book club selection. But I sped up the read to 1.5 times so it would be over that much sooner.
While listening to the book I wanted to sit Ms. Sonnenberg down (and her dreadful parents, if they were available), and talk with her about the hard work of being a moral, responsible, kind person. I wanted to tell her that yes, motherhood is hard work, life is not fair, and mainly--get some help. However, I think her issues with relationships with women might be quite deep. I feel sorry for her long suffering husband and her children.
For all her "spill your guts" talk, she didn't really explore women's relationships in a deep way. It was just a one-tone, plaintive whine.
Please, Ms. Sonnenberg, don't write any more books. Maybe read the book The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. Couldn't hurt.
What do you think the narrator could have done better?
Read. The. Book. Faster.
What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?
Sorrow that I had to read this and used a book credit for it.
Any additional comments?
I think you get my idea. I only gave the book three stars because I'm in a good mood that it's over.