Review: The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow
Title: The Girls from Ames
Author: Jeffrey Zaslow
Publication: Gotham; April 21, 2009
Rating: 3 Bookmarks
Source: Gotham Books
“Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.” – Anais Nin
Nat’s 1-sentence synopsis: Jeffrey Zaslow sifts through years of letters, diaries, and personal accounts to tell the story of 11 girls from Ames, Iowa who have sustained their friendship over four decades.
From the first few pages of this book, I was hooked on this story about friendship and life and how one impacts the other.
The beginning of the book features three photos of each girl* and a short bio, a valuable reference for helping to put a face with a name. Each story or anecdote is like a tile that makes up the mosaic of the girls’ friendship. Some tiles are darker than others, some are chipped and damaged, but when they are all put together and viewed as a whole, the mosaic is beautiful.
I would liken Jeffrey Zaslow’s role in this book to that of a social anthropologist. For the most part, Zaslow weaves one tale into another, one life into the next, but there were are few parts that were disjointed or told with an almost-clinical remove.
It would be difficult for any outsider to navigate the terrain of a close friendship, and Zaslow’s job was made exponentially more difficult because of the span of the friendship, number of the friends, and some of the topics that the women were reticent to discuss. He managed to pull together a solid story that held my interest until the last page.
Overall, this book was an enjoyable read and would be a good book club choice or beach read. When you finish it, you can do what I’m going to do–pass it along to a friend!
*the photos are from childhood, adolescence, and adulthood, with the exception of one girl.