Female friendships come and go for many reasons. Sometimes the friendship ends with a big to-do, and other times it simply fades away in a barely audible whisper. In The Friend That Got Away, twenty authors contribute true stories (with names and locations changed to protect privacy) of their own friendships with other women that ended. Most of the stories tell how the friendship developed and progressed, and why it ultimately perished – and how the author still thinks about her ex-friend, wondering what she is doing today.
With twenty stories of friendship, there are varied reasons as to why the friendship ended. Sometimes the reason is as simple as Nicole Keeter’s, who briefly befriended the only other African-American girl in her elementary school and town: the girl and her family suddenly moved. As girls become women, friendships during college days and early adulthood can feed competition and sexual betrayal between friends. Personal tragedies such as miscarriages and serious illnesses can carve a slow but sure divide between friends, which is shown as a trio of friends break up after one friend suffers through a succession of miscarriages. In another story, a friendship unravels when one woman becomes seriously ill and her friend finds inspiration for her art exhibition through her friend’s ailing health.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book even though I tend to prefer fiction to nonfiction. However, this book spoke to me. I have also had a few friendships with women that faded away; and, like the contributors to this book, I often think of those ex-friends and wonder what happened to them, and how they are doing todayThis book is pleasant to pick up and put down at intervals, and easy to do since it is essentially a series of short stories. The book is not particularly depressing per se, but there is a sadness to the death of friendship. Taking a mental break between stories gives the reader time to digest and ponder each thought-provoking, emotional story of a friendship that got away.