I’ve been thinking a great deal about female friendships recently — the ebb and flow, the inexplicable ties that bind, the diversity — and how each relationship (despite its length or size) adds to who we become — often without us realizing it.
While reflecting on friendship, I began to notice this topic explored in what I was currently reading (even though I had not selected my reading materials for this purpose). First, there was Marsha Ingrao’s ‘Socializing Is It Worth Your Time?‘ where she encouraged and received thought-provoking responses on the broad topic of socialization. One of these responses was by Suzanne@Picture Retirement, who shared, “sometimes I need to share my thoughts with another woman who understands me.” To me, this captures the heart of female relationships in a nutshell.
Inspired by the work of Erin Falconer, Kathy Gottberg pondered, “we know having friends as we age is important, but is there ever a time to break up?” This is a difficult question, but one that many of us have faced. And just yesterday, Kate Crimmins pondered the duration of friendships.
As often happens, when I finished my blog reading and picked up the TBR books waiting patiently beside me, the same theme continued. Despite an overworked writing style and some OTT situations, Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral makes you want to call your friends, have a long, Big Chill* conversation, and tell them what they mean to you.
The Pull of the Stars is deliberately slow and precise. Here, vividly drawn female characters connect during difficult times, break the rules, inspire and make a long-lasting difference. The results are tender, intimate and heartbreaking.
Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine was also a book club read. Although not my favourite book (I know, I know….what’s wrong with me?), it spotlights loneliness and the healing power of platonic friendship.
In Shirley (which our Classics Bookclub has just finished), Brontë has brilliantly captured the transforming power of female friendship. The reader is given a front-row seat as the novel’s key protagonists, timid Caroline Helstone, and fearless Shirley Keeldar, gain strength from each other, which helps them grow and evolve.
Fiction allows us to explore a range of moods, emotions and experiences from a different perspective. In so doing, it can deepen our understanding of ourselves and our relationships.
On Their Own Terms focuses less on relationships and more on fiercely independent, courageous women who challenged norms and left an incredible legacy to Vancouver Island. Their refusal to let hardship deter their dreams is a much-needed reminder, especially during these difficult times.
Finally, Peace By Chocolate was my WOTY reading for this month. It also focuses on the power of friendship, family, community, perseverance, resilience and faith. It is a brilliant reminder of what can be achieved when we selflessly reach out to one another. (Thank you for the recommendation, Natalie the Explorer).
While writing this post, I received this quote (via Messenger) from a friend who I have not chatted with for a while but who ironically picked up on this very same theme. It’s as if the Universe is trying to send me a message!
* Oh, and just in case any of you missed The Big Chill (seriously?), here is a quick clip. Hopes, dreams, reality and loss all tie together with the illuminating energy of deep friendship.
So, what’s been on your bookshelf lately? And if you’ve read any great books celebrating the power of female friendship, please share them too!