The Friends We Keep by Jane Green, 5 Stars

The summer between junior and senior year in college, I moved home and took a job at a discount book store. You know, one of those stores that pops up in a big box store that didn’t make it and just heaps piles of books on top of cheap folding tables? It was kind of heaven.

I was the assistant manager, the manager was a certified teacher who needed a summer job and rest of the staff was just a rag-tag collection of interesting people. And come to think of it, I have no idea what ever happened to any of them. And we were all super into books, which I learned after the fact is kind of amazing. To have a knowledgeable staff in that kind of bookstore? It’s like the stars aligned!

But everyday I would basically just straighten and organize books in between helping customers and I would find the most amazing gems. Think Denis Johnson, Tim O’Brien and any kind of eclectic fiction you could think of.

One day, I came across a book with a white cover and a pink shoe. It was Jemima J. The first book I ever read by Jane Green. And I loved every single word of that book! And I think I’ve loved just about every word Green has written since.

Her writing has grown along with me these years, which has been really cool. And I have clamored after each and every book she has written. I guess this is all just one big spoiler because how could I possibly give a bad review of The Friends We Keep after all this? Yeah, I’m not going to.

From the Publisher:

Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known one another since college. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and they never found the lives they wanted—the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible. 

Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man. 

Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with in college, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause. 

Topher became a successful actor, but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy. 

By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with one another and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness…until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything. 

The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it’s never too late to find a place to call home.

My Review:

The Friends We Keep is just one of those amazing friend sagas. We follow Maggie, Topher and Evie from college all the way to their 50’s, watching them change, grow, make mistakes, make more mistakes, grieve and love. It’s basically Beaches, or Steel Magnolias or Just As Long As We’re Together all grown up because it isn’t a tragedy.

Maggie is the practical one, Evie the hip one and Topher is the free spirit for sure. After college, they all pursue their own high-powered lives, one as a successful executive, one as a super model and another as a soap star. But even though life takes them in different directions, they always have time for eachother. Well, mostly.

Because, as with any story, real or imagined, things happen as we age. And unfortunately, everything isn’t all pretty tied up in a bow. But I think that’s where Green shines in her writing. She is able to write characters that don’t do everything right. She is able to write defeat, embarrassment and all the real emotions.

For me, Maggie, Evie and Topher didn’t just exist on the page. They came to life. I read their stories and now I will carry them with me. That’s one of the best things about books–the friends we make or keep.

Of course I recommend this one to Jane Green fans, Jennifer Wiener fans (I equally love her) and anyone who loves these types of friendship sagas. Special thanks to Berkley Publishing Group and Netgalley for an e-galley in exchange for my review. This one is available June 4, 2019 and would make a delicious beach read!

Indiebound

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