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Big friendship : how we keep each other close
2020
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The feminist hosts of the Call Your Girlfriend podcast argue that close friendship is the most influential and important relationship a human life can have, sharing strategies for creating fulfilling, long-term relationships with friends. 125,000 first printing. - (Baker & Taylor)

"Two of the nation's leading feminists and hosts of the hit podcast "Call Your Girlfriend" make the bold and compelling argument that a close friendship is the most influential and important relationship a human life can contain-helping you improve as a person and in your relationships with others"-- - (Baker & Taylor)

A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that! But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most people don't talk much about what it really takes to stay close for the long haul.

Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another's lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they've become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship'its joys and its pitfalls.

Aminatou and Ann define Big Friendship as a strong, significant bond that transcends life phases, geographical locations, and emotional shifts. And they should know: the two have had moments of charmed bliss and deep frustration, of profound connection and gut-wrenching alienation. They have weathered life-threatening health scares, getting fired from their dream jobs, and one unfortunate Thanksgiving dinner eaten in a car in a parking lot in Rancho Cucamonga. Through interviews with friends and experts, they have come to understand that their struggles are not unique. And that the most important part of a Big Friendship is making the decision to invest in one another again and again.

An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society's most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them. - (Simon and Schuster)

Author Biography

Aminatou Sow is a writer, interviewer, and cultural commentator. She is a frequent public speaker whose talks and interviews lead to candid conversations about ambition, money, and power. Aminatou lives in Brooklyn.

Ann Friedman is a journalist, essayist, and media entrepreneur. She is a contributing editor to The Gentlewoman. Every Friday, she sends a popular email newsletter. Ann lives in Los Angeles.

Together, Aminatou and Ann host the long-running podcast Call Your Girlfriend. Big Friendship is both Aminatou and Ann's first book. Learn more at BigFriendship.com - (Simon and Schuster)

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Booklist Reviews

Sow and Friedman set the tone for their study of Big Friendship—"a bond of great strength, force, and significance that transcends life phases, geographical locations, and emotional shifts"—with a frank and vulnerable episode: years into their own Big Friendship, they booked a spa weekend together in hopes of bridging a painfully growing distance between them. It didn't work. The authors and podcasters behind the popular Call Your Girlfriend then kick it back to their origin story as fast friends who met at a Gossip Girl watch party. They intertwine the story and lessons of their relationship with research about friendship (noting the predominant cultural emphasis on romantic and family relationships). They give airtime to topics like the importance of "stretching" for one another, the special challenge of interracial friendship, and the "too big to fail" myth they had to let go of. This is an instructive, humbling, and reassuring guidebook to Big Friendship in all its hard work and outsize glory; through both tears and laughter, readers will see themselves in it, and be glad. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

Kirkus Reviews

A rich exploration of friendship by the talented women behind the Call Your Girlfriend podcast. Sow and Friedman have been best friends since 2009, when they instantly clicked at a Gossip Girl viewing party, but it hasn't always been easy. They both struggled for years to juggle what David Sedaris calls life's "four burners"—family, friends, health, and work. Here, the authors delve psychologically and emotionally into the nature of the concept of a "Big Friendship," whether it's a long-distance relationship like their own or anyone deemed appropriate to include in one's "chosen family." Written in an almost novelistic style, this chronicle of their experiences include Friedman's difficult decision to strike out on her own as a writer as well as Sow's medical issues. Those who follow the podcast will be familiar with the authors' philosophy of "Shine Theory," described by its creators as "an investment, over the long term, in helping a friend be their best—and relying on their help in return...a conscious decision to bring our full selves to our friendships and to not let insecurity or envy ravage them." In other words, as Sow told Friedman after one particularly satisfying professional triumph, "I don't shine if you don't shine." Though both authors have achieved remarkable professional success, that doesn't mean they gloss over their rough patches, including difficult spells that challenged the bonds of their friendship and a conflict involving a painful sociological phenomenon dubbed the "trapdoor of racism," which forced both women to reevaluate their bond, ultimately resulting in a trip to couples therapy. Having honed a relationship they compare to the one between Oprah Winfrey and Gayle King, the authors are well equipped to deliver honest and helpful advice to anyone struggling to maintain a healthy union over time and distance. A soul-searching reflection that delivers an emotional journey to amplify the self-help tips. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

Library Journal Reviews

Sow and Friedman, hosts of the popular podcast Call Your Girlfriend, practice radical honesty in sharing their story of decades-long friendship, in this generation-defining work that is both a memoir of a friendship and a manifesto for a new sociological designation. Only recently has it become common for women and men to openly acknowledge that friendships require the same kinds of care and emotional investment that familial and romantic bonds do. The authors are not the first to declare that friendship is understudied and undervalued, but they may be the first to write about friendship's place in modern life with such engaging prose and accessibly composed research. Each chapter in the book honors either a milestone in their bonding or a key concept in the sociology of friendship. Sections begin with a story about Sow or Friedman's experiences working, living, and loving in cities like Austin, Washington, DC, or Los Angeles, and end with considered discussion of friendship theory and how it pertains to their lives. VERDICT This vital book will be especially useful for young women as they navigate their relationships and the world, but may also be an important read for older women who are reflecting on how they grew up and who they came of age alongside.—Sierra Dickey, Ctr. for New Americans, Northampton, MA

Copyright 2020 Library Journal.

Publishers Weekly Reviews

Sow and Friedman, cohosts of the podcast Call Your Girlfriend, debut with a chatty exploration of the benefits and challenges of female friendship. Sow and Friedman describe "the spark" of their initial meeting at a mutual friend's party in 2009, when they were both in their 20s; how shared projects and an easy, constant flow of communication led to the deeper bond of "chosen family" and the philosophy of "I don't shine if you don't shine." But even as they launched a podcast based on their "Shine Theory," the pair were going through a period marked by miscommunications and the challenges of long-distance and interracial friendships (Sow is black; Friedman is white). Reevaluating the "story of sameness" of their earlier bond, Sow and Friedman enlisted a therapist to help them sort through their issues—not a viable strategy for all, they concede, but an action that reaffirmed their mutual commitment. Though they put their own relationship front and center, the authors incorporate research from social scientists and anecdotes from other people's lives. Readers whose own "big friendships" aren't as inextricable as Sow and Friedman's may balk at their insistence on, say, coordinating outfits (they call it "frog-and-toading"), but this entertaining outing shows young women how they can empower and sustain each other. (July)

Copyright 2020 Publishers Weekly.

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