The Girls from Ames follows the 40-year friendship of 11 women from Ames, Iowa. Though they are now living in places all over the country, these women have continued to nurture the friendship they built in their school days. They have been available to support each other during the high points of their lives as well as when they faced personal crises.
While I was not always interested in the details of these women’s lives—after all how many of us can say that what we liked in high school would be fascinating for others to read about—I was struck by the value their friendship has brought them in so many ways.
The topics of friendship, family, personal response to tragedy and having a place to call home are prominent throughout The Girls from Ames. Stories are told about the girls and women as individuals, and to illustrate the role they each play as a member of the group.
When I started reading the story, I worked hard to keep track of each woman and her circumstances, but I soon came to feel that each person’s importance is more as a representation of the kind of person she is than as an individual in this specific group. Often, things they said or did reminded me of people I know in my own life.
In the end I felt The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow provides a way for us to reflect on and talk about the value of long-time friendship in our lives. I believe it should prompt discussions within a mother-daughter book clubs with girls aged 16 and up about their own relationships.