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Chapter 19 - The Same Sweet Girls

I was lucky enough last week to spend time with my best friends in Maryland. I have three friends who I have known since either kindergarten or junior high and who have supported each other through marriages, divorces, births, and deaths and remain true. These are women I could call up at 2:00 AM if I had too and who have cheered my successes and comforted my distresses as I have theirs.

That started me thinking, on the way home, of books about friendship. As Dave and I started talking about this topic it occurred to me that while there are many, many books about female friendships or even male/female friendships, there are far fewer about male friendships. Most of the books I came up with are ones written years ago when books about male friendships were more prevalent than now.

Still scratching my head over that, but here are some books about friendships of every sort which I really like and recommend.

Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons by Lorna Landvik - Five women start a book club in the 1960's and develop friendships which last them into the 1990's. Over the 30 years their lives change in ways they never could have imagined as young housewives but their friendships stay strong. Really is there anything that good coffee, desserts, and strong shoulders can't fix?

The Last Convertible by Anton Myrer - This is a book about friendships over a 30 year period and a magnificent Packard Super 8, owned successively by five Harvard classmates of the 1940s. As you read about the men's lives during and after World War II, you get a sense of the strength and fragility of friendships. Sadly, this book is out of print now but you can still find it in some used book stores.

The Outsiders by SE Hinton - This is a great book about friendships. If you only remember reading this in high school, it is time to take another look at it. Hinton wrote this coming of age novel when she was only 16 and a junior in high school herself. That is probably why it feels so fresh even now. The book follows two rival groups the Greasers and the Socs who are divided by socioeconomics.

Annie Freeman's Fabulous Traveling Funeral by Kris Radish - Annie Freeman has made one final request, that her closest friends take her ashes on a trip to every special place in her life. At each place there is a surprise and a small miracle waiting. These five women who come from different places and times in Annie's life carry out her request and develop a better understanding of themselves along the way.

The Distance From Normandy by Jonathan Hull - A story about the unlikely friendship between a man and his grandson, The Distance From Normandy is a great read. Mead parachuted into Normandy as a young man during World War II. Andrew, his grandson, has been expelled from school for fighting. At first Mead can't understand Andrew as he has so many advantages in life that Mead didn't have and Andrew thinks that Mead is just a grumpy old man. But, as they learn about each other, they learn they are more alike than not.

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Are there any friendship novels you enjoy? Do you know of a male/male friendship novel written recently which you can recommend?

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