Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Fiction Tuesday - Friends Like Us

Book Description: With her critically acclaimed debut novel, Still Life with Husband, Lauren Fox established herself as a wise and achingly funny chronicler of domestic life and was hailed as “a delightful new voice in American fiction, a voice that instantly recalls the wry, knowing prose of Lorrie Moore” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times). Fox’s new novel glitters with these pleasures—fearless wordplay, humor, and nuance—and asks us the question at the heart of every friendship: What would you give up for a friend’s happiness?

For Willa Jacobs, seeing her best friend, Jane Weston, is like looking in a mirror on a really good day. Strangers assume they are sisters, a comparison Willa secretly enjoys. They share an apartment, clothing, and groceries, eking out rent with part-time jobs. Willa writes advertising copy, dreaming up inspirational messages for tea bags (“The path to enlightenment is steep” and “Oolong! Farewell!”), while Jane cleans houses and writes poetry about it, rhyming “dust” with “lust,” and “clog of hair” with “fog of despair.” Together Willa and Jane are a fortress of private jokes and shared opinions, with a friendship so close there’s hardly room for anyone else. But when Ben, Willa’s oldest friend, reappears and falls in love with Jane, Willa wonders: Can she let her two best friends find happiness with each other if it means leaving her behind?

Lauren Fox’s Friends Like Us powerfully illustrates these painful, joyful moments as we cross the tricky threshold of adulthood. Willa, the novel’s whip-smart and laugh-out-loud funny narrator, is a loyal and devoted daughter, sister, and friend, especially to her roommate, Jane. Willa and Jane’s friendship is giddily intimate—their drive to “establish and reestablish the specific degree of our astounding similarities” is a reminder of teenage friendships lost and a harbinger of the coming end of their protracted adolescence. They are overeducated and underemployed, and nearing the time in their lives when those things will become frustrating rather than charming. Willa’s only broken relationship is with her high-school best friend, Ben, so when she runs into him at a reunion, she is delighted to welcome him back into her life, and thrilled to connect her friendships with Jane and Ben into a circle.-Elenor Brown (author of Weird Sisters)

Even in your closest friendships, you’re alone. Maybe it’s your best friend who, in fact, reminds you, just by making it her business to try to know your heart, that no one can—that our fate is to suffer in isolation and then die. But it’s our collective fate! So I guess I’m an optimist.
friends like us; lauren fox.

“[A] poignant comedy. . . . That sprinkling of despair and humor is typical of Fox, who . . . established herself as a chronicler of contemporary marriage and adultery. She’s in love with language and can squeeze laughs out of the worst situations while depicting nuanced, complicated characters. Her prose is intelligent. . . . This novel is ultimately about trust, betrayal and forgiveness. Fox makes you care about Willa and everyone else in Friends Like Us long after you’ve finished.” —Lisa Page, The Washington Post  

From the very beginning of the book, we know that there has been a sad sad turn of events in the friendship of Willa and Jane. Because we know something happened, but do not know what, we are hooked. We want to know what happened, and we want to try to fix it. I found myself adoring Willa and Jane both, and saddened to think that something was coming that would hurt them.-Tiffany 

Squirrels are at the top of the list of things that scare me, even before bats with rabies. It’s the way they live among us. You never know if they’re going to change their minds. I sketch them sometimes and imagine their secret lives, the way they probably plot against us but then get distracted by acorns.
Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox

In all honesty, this book did not grab me, like I thought it would. I liked the premise, but as the book starts, or perhaps, jumps ahead of the aftermath of what ever the situation was..I felt I wasn't completely insync with the main characters.-Ellie 

This book was highly recommended in a magazine I receive at home, so I thought I would give it a try. I did finish it, but it was a struggle. Nothing exciting happens until 3/4 of the way through it. Then the event that does happen is kind of predictable. I was very disappointed with the ending and felt the whole read was a waste of my time. The author kind of keeps you hanging. I will not be reading any more of this author's books.- momof2

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Cafe Fashionista said...

This book definitely sounds easy to relate to - especially in this era! :)

FWB said...

I am always intrigued by her work.

blue hearts said...

She's really one of our new modern romance kind of writers that a lot of us look up too.

lucy and sarah said...

It would definitely be interesting to be friends with someone like Ben..heheee..Anyway, I do like this author.

MOSAMUSE said...

i love the 'i feel old but not very wise' quote lol


Chris Ed said...

Great review and cool post!
kisses chris