Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner

Hi Readers! It’s Wednesday, so that means another snappy book review. Today we’ve got Jennifer Weiner’s Best Friends Forever. The strange thing about this one, for me, was the narrative’s dichotomy.

Certain chapters exhibit a literary fiction finesse that is just exquisite. The parts about Addie’s former relationship with an older man and her family history—especially the tragic story of her older brother—are manufique! I would throw roses, if I had any. These passages alone are worth the price of admission.

Holidays & Occasions

But the chick-lit parts—think ‘Thelma-and-Louise-lite’—just made me say, “huh?” I didn’t get it. Okay, I got it, but wasn’t groovin’ on it. I like how Addie was formally obese—that was choice. (In middle school, my best friend was blond, slim, and a jv cheerleader. I had the figure of an oversized toddler.) But the parts featuring Addie's best friend Valerie? Yurg.

You know what my problem with Valerie really is? Judy Blume has almost the exact same character in one of my favorite books, Summer Sisters. Blume’s bf character is also blond and beautiful, with flakey, hippy-dippy parents. The history and interplay between the mc and her bf is virtually identical in each book. Have you ever seen the same character in books by different authors?

Weiner has written other novels, so let’s pause for a moment while I try to discover if this author is chick-lit reaching for up-market women’s fiction or vice versa. Inquiring minds want to know. Okay, I’m back. And the answer is: neither. Weiner doesn’t mind the label chick-lit and vigorously defends the genre. And she’s got some serious writing chops: graduating summa cum laude from Princeton with teachers Joyce Carol Oates, Toni Morrison, and John McPhee. Holy Moly!

Verdict? I'd like to read more of her work.


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