Book Review – Friendship by Emily Gould
February 16, 2015
Bev Tunney and Amy Schein have been best friends for years; now, at thirty, they’re at a crossroads. Bev is a Midwestern striver still mourning a years-old romantic catastrophe. Amy is an East Coast princess whose luck and charm have too long allowed her to cruise through life. Bev is stuck in circumstances that would have barely passed for bohemian in her mid-twenties: temping, living with roommates, drowning in student-loan debt. Amy is still riding the tailwinds of her early success, but her habit of burning bridges is finally catching up to her. And now Bev is pregnant.
As Bev and Amy are dragged, kicking and screaming, into real adulthood, they have to face the possibility that growing up might mean growing apart.
Friendship, Emily Gould’s debut novel, traces the evolution of a friendship with humor and wry sympathy. Gould examines the relationship between two women who want to help each other but sometimes can’t help themselves; who want to make good decisions but sometimes fall prey to their own worst impulses; whose generous intentions are sometimes overwhelmed by petty concerns.
This is a novel about the way we speak and live today; about the ways we disappoint and betray one another. At once a meditation on the modern meaning of maturity and a timeless portrait of the underexamined bond that exists between friends, this exacting and truthful novel is a revelation.
What I Liked
- My favorite part of the book was its message on friendship. Just like any relationship, friendship can have its ups and downs as two people grow and change through the course of their lives. Even though friendships can hit snags, I love when friendship prevails – when two people are able to see the strength of their bond and work through the challenges that exist.
- Amy and Bev were well developed characters (though I didn’t really love the character of Amy). I like how you see them mature and discover themselves throughout the course of the novel. Your 20’s is definitely a time of self discovery, and I felt like this book reflected that journey well.
My Not So Favorite Parts
- I feel like Amy had the image of the “bad” friend whereas Bev had the image of the “good” friend. Amy was also portrayed as the one with more strength, courage, and independence, and it is unfortunate that those traits were associated with the “bad” friend who was also self-centered and materialistic. Bev was portrayed with more meek, failure-prone characteristics, and it made me sad that she was the “good” friend. By the end of the novel, they have both grown and changed considerably, but I prefer novels where female leads can have strong personality traits, still be respected as women, and continue to grow as a person.
- Parts of the plot didn’t really work for me. The relationship with Sally and how it develops is simply unrealistic. Many of the actions of Amy and Bev felt “forced” and unnatural as Gould tried to pigeon hole their personalities and drive the story forward.
Overall, this is not a bad read, but it will not be the most earth shattering book you have read. After my Valentine’s post on Saturday, I’ve been thinking about books that define certain relationships, and I am now on the hunt for more heartwarming books about friendship.
What book about a heart warming friendship would you recommend?