Sonderbooks Book Reviews by Sondra Eklund

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The Enduring Power of Female Friendship

by Sandy Sheehy

Reviewed October 17, 2001.
A Sonderbooks' Best Book of 2001
HarperCollins Publishers.  2000.  334 pages (plus appendices and notes and index). 
Available at Sembach Library (158.208 SHE).

This was the book that held me up this week.  I wanted to finish it and review it, since I had started it the week before.  This is an academic psychological study of female friendship, so it’s not quick reading, but it is fascinating.  Over the years, I’ve read a few books on friendship, but never really felt that they covered the kinds of friendships I’ve experienced in my life.  This book, though, did a magnificent and comprehensive job.

She talks about the importance of female friendship and how it has changed in modern times.  I liked the section on the ten forms of female friendship.  I felt that she did, in fact, capture most of the types of friendship (acknowledging that some people are in more than one category).  I found some of the forms especially interesting.  I think I’ve been blessed with more than my share of “Soulmates”--people who intuitively understand you, what L. M. Montgomery calls “kindred spirits.”  Since I met many of them very young, they turned into “History Friends”--people you have known for most of your life.  Another category is “Lifemates,”--people who are going through some of the same experiences as you.  This explains why there is a special community among Americans overseas.

Other sections talked about the seven stages of friendship, the six seasons of female friendship, and seventeen steps to having friends for life.  I liked the Epilogue:  “E-mail is female.”  I only wished that it had been given a bigger place in the rest of the book.  E-mail has revolutionized my friendships.  I feel like now I have a back fence where I can meet with the most wonderful people I’ve met in my life, even though I live so far away from them.  Friends I used to write to a few times a year, I now “talk” to several times a month.  I wonder how it has changed other people’s lives.  Perhaps that can be Sandy Sheehy’s next book!

Copyright © 2005 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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