Tuesday, April 21, 2015

"Friendship" by Emily Gould

By the time my hold came through on Overdrive, I couldn't remember what prompted me to request this book in the first place. Yet, I started it Sunday night and finished it the following afternoon, opting for a long walk in place of a Pilates class so I wouldn't have to stop listening.

Bev and Amy are best friends who met while working at a publishing house in New York City. They're the unique kind of friends you form in your mid- to late-twenties when others around you are settling down and starting families, and you're adrift in a big city and need someone else upon whom you can depend. They've seen each other through their post-college years, and now that they're rounding the corner into their thirties, what was once a carefree existence barely making ends meet is becoming somewhat pathetic. As the girls struggle to determine where they go with their dead-end jobs and in their flailing relationships, they navigate this new phase in their friendship as well.

Gould does a great job with the characters - I know Amy's, girls who are used to having things work out but haven't put much thought into where they'd like to end up; and I know Bev's, girls who know what they wanted but once life got in the way weren't sure how to get things back on track. Gould lets the reader peak into these character's inner monologues, not shying away from their foolish decisions and the shortsighted selfishness that leads them to make them.

A few quick notes on the audio: there was a bit of timeline-weirdness with an extended flashback. It went on so long I wasn't sure if we had done a forward time jump and the story was still progressing, rather than providing background. It was weird when listening, but might have played out better in print. Amy Rubinate, whom I don't think I've encountered before as an audio narrator, also did this drawn-out hissing effect at the end of each sentence that was a bit grating on 1.25 (my normal listening speed). At first I thought it was just for certain characters who were supposed to be irritating, but it was done throughout the novel, unfortunately. When I sped up to 1.5 it was still noticeable, though the story grabbed me soon after & I got over it.

I finished the bulk of this audiobook in a straight marathon listen and enjoyed every minute. What I thought would be a light romp left me pondering the nature of growing up as a millennial and how our generation finds and defines our own families within the cities to which we've flocked.

Verdict: Affirmed, for fans of Lena Dunham's "Girls" and Meg Wollitzer's "The Interestings," young women living in big cities, and those who want to think about the roles our friendships play in our lives as we grow older. This short read has left me with topics I'd really like to discuss with others who have read it  - so pick up a copy & let's chat

"Friendship" by Emily Gould, audio narration by Amy Rubinate, published by Tantor Audio on September 23, 2014. Originally published in print by Farrar, Straus, and Giroux on July 1, 2014.

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