Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
Published by Simon & Schuster on July 17th, 2020
Genres: Feminism, Friendship, Memoir, Non-Fiction
“We can learn so much about someone by the way they talk about their friends.”
A co-worker told me to listen to Call Your Girlfriend after I asked for podcast recommendations. I’ve listened to it on and off for years now and I put it on when I need to relax. So I was was overjoyed when I found out that the hosts had written a book together!
In Big Friendship, Sow and Friedman tell the story of their equally messay and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. They discuss the ups and downs, the joys and pitfalls of friendship. And invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved.
I chose to read this at the perfect time. With the pandemic going on and quarantine still happening, it felt like a big warm hug to be reminded of my friendships.
Sow and Friedman have such an irresistible chemistry on the podcast that translates onto the page as well.
It was a bit jarring to read about their story in the third person knowing that they were writing it, but it didn’t take long for me to get over that.
I appreciated that while this was a recount of their friendship over the years, they also sprinkled in their own advice. But I didn’t expect to like reading about the research and science behind friendships!
We have no idea if that was moving fast or an average timeline, because friendship is so rarely studied as an intimate bond. The research on close relationships is mostly based on parents and children or romantic couples.
Not only is there a gap in the research done on friendships, but I rarely get to read books solely focused on female friendships.
It’s usually in the background while the main focus is on romantic relationships. I’m definitely going to be seeking out more books on friendships!
Just as candid as they are on the podcast, Sow and Friedman are frank about their friendship. They don’t hold back and actively show you that close friendships aren’t always so rosy! Nobody discusses the hard work it takes to keep a friendship going for the long haul.
They openly discuss the low points in their friendship. They don’t play the blame game, but they talk about miscommunication and solutions that worked for them or that would’ve worked for them.
Perhaps the most surprising part of the book for me is the discussion about how technology shapes friendships. It’s true that it can help long-distance relationships, but at some point, it fails to bring two people closer together. If you rely on it too much, you lose too much in the details. After all, we know that not everyone is honest on social media. You show the highlight reel or you skirt around the hard issues.
I love that you’ve known every version of me. You were there at the beginning and I want you there at the end.
This book made me want to reach out to my best and biggest friends to tell them how much I appreciate them for being in my life. And if you’re missing your friends, I highly recommend you pick up this book. Read it with a friend! I know I’m going to purchase this book as a gift to my best girlfriends.
As with the big friendships in your life, you’ll want to keep this book close. I know I’ll want to revisit so many passages!