Traveling in airports this week I was in need of something to read. The Girls from Ames had stuck out at Barnes and Noble a while back, and I just picked it up.
Two pages in, I was hooked. Tears and smiles later, I find the tale of these 11 friends – their trials through highschool, marriages, and raising and losing children – sweet and inspiring.
As a woman in my 20’s, it’s often hard to think back to the friendships I fell in and out of growing up. From my best friend since 1st grade who would “abandon” me for another group when she got a boyfriend, to the 7th and 8th grade Bestie who eventually found my straight-A’s and goody-two-shoes attitude suffocating and left me for the pot-smokers, to the group of girls who rescued me my junior year and in whom I would find mentors and women of faith to emulate – all of these relationships carry both hurt and value for me.
And as I’ve grown and found fiercely meaningful friendships with a group of girls who, believe it or not, I met working retail, I have come to a realization: pictures of smiling faces often mask the depth beneath.
The Girls from Ames prove that even though the pictures they have taken showing their love for eachother and their deep bonds, they do not erase the hurts from snooty highschool sleepovers and cliques or growing up and learning of the loss of friends and loved ones. The “pretty outside” images may be times to remember and envy, but they hardly show the underlying heartbreak so many women suffer as they age.
I envy the Girls from Ames, and their daughters. I wish I could say I have a close, still-lasting friendship from elementary, middle, high school or even college. I do not bemoan my upbringing or school career or the friends I’ve had along the way, but this unique bond between now-10 women is something I will attempt to emulate with my current best friends and pray exists for my own children.
It’s a great read. A little hard to follow and remember who each girl is, but their triumphs and tragedy will make you laugh and bring you to tears. Great write, Jeffrey Zaslow.
I thank those women for opening up a world to me of which I am unfamiliar, and refusing to gloss over the difficult part of growing up female.