Tuesday, June 8, 2010

THE GIRLS FROM AMES

Jeffrey Zaslow, co-author of THE LAST LECTURE and "Sully" Sullenberger's story HIGHEST DUTY, received a packet of letters from a woman who had grown up in Ames. He soon realized the potential of a book that tells the story of a closely-knit group of eleven girls who have maintained their friendships to the present.
Zaslow describes the problems and pranks of this group's teen years, then follows them as they marry (or not) and have families and/or professions. He focuses on the interplay of relationships, the girls' honesty, loyalty, and support for one another during crises. Individual pictures as young girls, as teenagers, and now as adults help readers visualize them, and group pictures convey their fun-filled friendship.
Zaslow writes with great dexterity and clarity, combining facts, feelings, events, personalities and psychological observations, all in a sentence or two. And he is never stuffy. I wanted to keep reading to learn how each girl fared and what happened during their reunions. Moods ranged from hilarious to sentimental, to shocking, to grief and regret.
This may be primarily a woman's book, as Zaslow observes that women tend to have more long-lasting personal relationships than men, but male readers might enjoy THE GIRLS, too. I couldn't help thinking of my high school buddies who are still close friends.
Reading this book will be a trip down memory lane for women born in the early 1960's, a glimpse into social history for those younger, and a puzzlement for oldsters who might say, "Life was never like that when I went to high school!"

2 comments:

  1. I just finished The Girls from Ames and loved it. I marvel that a man could write this book and keep all the relationships straight--the mark of a good journalist. It also helped that "the Ames girls" are only 5 years younger than me and that I attended ISU and lived in Ames until 1991. Looking at the girls' hair and clothes in the old photos brought me back to my girlhood and young adulthood. Zaslow's observations of the differences in male and female friendship certainly rang true to me. A great read!

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  2. Hello! Jeffrey Zaslow, the author, will be reading from the book at the Iowa City Book Festival next month: Saturday, July 17, 3:30 in Shambaugh Auditorum. See details about Zaslow's presentation and all the other amazing stuff going on at the Festival here: http://www.iowacitybookfestival.org/jeffrey-zaslow-2/ -- this is a great weekend-long event for all of the Club Read participants!

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