Friday, August 6, 2010

Julie's Review: With Friends Like These

Summary: Koslow (The Late, Lamented Molly Marx) lifts a potentially trite story of friendship to a knowing, sharp-edged chronicle of ambition and acceptance that's smart, raw, and achingly real. Chloe, married to a Wall Street striver, and Talia, hitched to a teacher with a trust fund, share a copy-writing job while raising preschool boys. Ambition drives them apart, and devotion to each other, to their kids, to their less-than-perfect husbands--brings them back. Quincy and Jules, the childless women in the quadrangle of friends, are the cool ones until New York real estate comes between them. These imperious women are a handful by themselves, but a solid cast of husbands and lovers hold their own: Arthur, the oddball middle-aged lothario who adores Jules; Tom, the trust-fund scion who prefers to remain safely ensconced in an educational ivory tower while letting Talia get down and dirty in the real world; Xander, the ruthless hedge fund hotshot married to beautiful but insecure Chloe; and Jake, the anchor of Quincy's stormy life. Koslow packs a trove of wit and wisdom into a slick pink package.

Review: I always thought that female friendships would get easier as I got older but I've found that not necessarily to be the case. As women get married, have kids and life gets hectic, friendships fall through the cracks. With Friends Like These addresses these issues and more. Do female friendships always have to be so complicated? Sally Koslow explores this through Jules, Chloe, Talia and Quincy. For me any character who's name is Julie or Julia and prefers to be called "Jules" comes off a bit self-important. (It's one thing to have it as a nickname.)She was definitely my least favorite character and the story I didn't identify with at all. I will say that Ms. Koslow does a good job of making Jules grow over the course the novel. My favorite two friends were Talia and Quincy. I could identify with both of these ladies for different reasons. I liked Talia because she felt like she needed to be the breadwinner because of her husband's career and felt the pressure of "keeping up with the Jones'". In trying to do something for herself and her family, she ended up damaging her friendship with Chloe.

Quincy and Jules have their own issues. You see Quincy and her husband, Jake have been looking for the perfect condo/apartment in NYC for a while and they've finally found it. The problem is that Quincy trusted Jules and Jules swept the apartment out from underneath them.

These two rifts start to drive the foursome apart but as some friendships falter, others become closer. These women start to grow up and become secure in themselves, who they are and the choices they have made. Sometimes growing up means growing apart.

Women's friendships are complicated. I've always said that I think sometimes friends are in your life for a period of time to teach you something about life and yourself. Not all friendships are lifelong. I think this is hard for women to grasp since it is drilled in our head through books, movies and other media when we are younger that friendship are life long. Life is long and people change, sometimes friendships suffer from those changes.

I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of With Friends Like These through Library Thing's Early Reviewers.

This book is on sale on August 10, 2010

Final Take:



Sally Koslow August 6, 2010 at 7:39 AM  

Good morning, Julie,

Many thanks for the thoughtful review of my novel, WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE. I especially like your insight that "sometimes friends are in your life for a pierod of time to teach you something." Wise woman!

I hope your readers will like the book, and see its potential for fascinating book club conversation...about their own lives as much as those of Quincy, Talia, Jules and Chloe.

Sally Koslow

Julie August 6, 2010 at 7:10 PM  

Thanks Sally for stopping by GJR! Good luck with the book going on sale on 8/10.

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