Reviewed by Krista C.
I have a fantastic group of women friends who are very similar to the group of women featured in Jeffrey Zaslow’s latest book, The Girls from Ames. Most of the friendships in our group, dubbed the ‘Spinster Sisters’, date from my freshman year in college. Even though the main group of ‘girls’ featured in Zaslow’s book have known each other since their tween years, I could relate to their stories because I’ve shared many similar experiences during the years the Spinster Sisters have been together.
Call me a skeptic, but I wondered whether a man could accurately describe the life events and inner workings of a group of women. That’s no knock on Zaslow. He co-authored The Last Lecture with Randy Pausch so he’s proven that he can write a compelling human interest story. However, I just kept coming back to the fact that he was a man. Would he get the essence of the “girls” in all their glory?
‘Yes he did!’
Zaslow spent time introducing each of the “girls”. I felt like I knew each one of them. He details the complicated connections that the girls form and reform with each other as they mature from 12 year-olds through to middle age. I didn’t grow up in the Ames, Iowa but the journey that these women shared rang true for me.
The book poignantly relates the shared sadness after the death of one of the “girls”, and illustrates how the power of the group can support another “girl” while she battles cancer. These women are each successful on the divergent paths their lives have taken, but they continue to enrich each other by carving out time each year to stay connected. In these jealously guarded hours together they can be their authentic selves surrounded by friends who call them on anything that is less than authentic.
The Girls from Ames was interesting and insightful. I think that women understand the value this type of support system has in their lives. It pays dividends in many unforeseen ways. Sadly, I don’t think that men experience these dynamics with their ‘man-cave’ friends. Perhaps, after reading this book, men will be more understanding when the women in their lives insist that they have to take the time to visit their own group of “girls”.
My teenaged niece once commented about my group of girlfriends, “Spinsters Rock!” It’s no surprise to me that, The Girls from Ames is a rocking good story.
Win 1 of 10 copies of The Girls from Ames – enter below.