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The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship Paperback – April 6, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Gotham; Reprint edition (April 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1592405320
  • ISBN-13: 978-1592405329
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.4 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #158,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


About the Author

Jeffrey Zaslow is a Wall Street Journal columnist and, with Randy Pausch, coauthor of The Last Lecture, the #1 New York Times bestseller now translated into forty-one languages. Zaslow attended Dr. Pausch’s famous lecture and wrote the story that sparked worldwide interest in it. The Girls from Ames also grew out of one of Zaslow’s columns. He lives in suburban Detroit with his wife, Sherry, and daughters Jordan, Alex, and Eden.

More About the Author

Through his Wall Street Journal column and bestselling books, Jeffrey Zaslow has told the stories of some of the most inspirational people of our time.

Jeff is best known for The Last Lecture, written with Randy Pausch, which has been translated into 48 languages, and was #1 on best-seller lists worldwide. Five million copies have been sold in English alone, and the book remained on The New York Times best-seller list for more than 112 weeks.

Jeff's latest book, The Magic Room: A story about the love we wish for our daughters, was published in January 2012. The nonfiction narrative is set at a small-town Michigan bridal shop, and looks at the lives of a handful of brides (and their parents) who've journeyed to the store's "Magic Room." Details at

In 2011, Jeff collaborated with Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and her husband, veteran astronaut Mark Kelly, on their memoir, GABBY: A Story of Courage and Hope. The book received a great deal of attention, including a cover story in People magazine, and an hour-long ABC TV special hosted by Diane Sawyer. GABBY debuted near the top of the New York Times bestseller lists for both hardcovers and e-books.

Jeff's 2009 book about female friendship, The Girls From Ames, spent 26 weeks on The Times list, rising to #3. People magazine named it one of the "Ten Best Books of the Year." Lifetime Television is adapting the book for a movie.

Also in 2009, Jeff coauthored Highest Duty, the memoir of Capt. "Sully" Sullenberger, who famously landed US Airways Flight 1549 in the Hudson River. Highest Duty debuted at # 3 on The New York Times list.

Jeff's Wall Street Journal column focuses on life transitions and often attracts wide media interest. That was certainly the case in September 2007, after he attended the final lecture of Carnegie Mellon Professor Randy Pausch. Jeff's column about the talk sparked a worldwide phenomenon. Millions of people viewed footage of the lecture. Intense media coverage included The Oprah Winfrey Show and an ABC special.

Jeff is drawn to the topics he writes about because he has created a beat unlike most others in journalism. While The Wall Street Journal covers the heart of the financial world, Jeff tends to the hearts of its readers.

The National Society of Newspaper Columnists twice named him the best columnist in a newspaper with more than 100,000 circulation. In 2008, he received the Distinguished Column Writing Award from the New York Newspaper Publishers Association.

Jeff's TV appearances have included The Tonight Show, Oprah, Larry King Live, 60 Minutes, The Today Show and Good Morning America.

Jeff first worked at the Journal from 1983 to 1987, when he wrote about a competition to replace Ann Landers at the Chicago Sun-Times. He entered to get an angle for his story, and won the job over 12,000 applicants. He worked at the Sun-Times from 1987 to 2001, and was also a columnist for USA Weekend, the Sunday supplement in 510 newspapers.

In 2000, Jeff received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award for using his column to help 47,000 disadvantaged children. For 12 years, he hosted an annual singles party for charity, Zazz Bash, which drew 7,000 readers a year and resulted in 78 marriages.

A Philadelphia native, Jeff is a graduate of Carnegie Mellon, where he majored in creative writing. His wife, Sherry Margolis, is a TV news anchor with Fox 2 in Detroit. They have three daughters: Jordan, Alex and Eden.

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Customer Reviews

As for the writing style of this book, it was a bit different than I am used to.
Danielle Garcia
So I started reading the first free pages of this book on my Kindle - and was hooked and bought the book.
Amazon Customer
I loved it....reminded me of my friends.....feel girls are so lucky that we have these friendships.
Charleen Rohr

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 34 people found the following review helpful By S. Siepel VINE VOICE on May 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
When I picked up this book I thought it would be the creative-non-fiction telling of 11 women's friendship. Instead, The Girls from Ames, is the journalistic account of these women's lives with a lot of statistics and studies thrown in for good measure.

At the beginning of the book, Jeffery Zaslow wonders if he is the right person to pen this account. I am still wondering. Zaslow is very detailed, but he is very much a man standing outside of this circle of girlfriends simply reporting what he observes. The author's lack of connectiveness prevented me from joining this group of gals as if I were one of them. I always felt like an outsider looking in.

Here is what I liked about this book:
1.I graduated from a high school in Iowa and attended Iowa State University in Ames around the same time the girls were in high school/college. I enjoyed identified with many of the places and events described.
2. I found how these friends supported each other through life's trails very touching and encouraging.

Here is what I disliked about this book:
1. I found the way it was organized to be very confusing. Many times I would have to reread a section to figure out who the author was talking about.
2. The journalistic writing style. The author told us a lot about these girls, but showed us very little. It was like reading a very long newspaper article.
3. I could careless about the various findings on friendships. These studies might be a revelation to a guy, but to us gals, this stuff is pretty obvious. The statistics just weighed the book down.

I am not sorry that I read this book, but I would have a hard time recommending it to anybody. The actually girls from Ames may be fabulous, but the book wasn't.
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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By S. Ingebretson on July 2, 2010
Format: Paperback
I eagerly snatched this book from the shelves of an airport bookshop. The girls are from Iowa -- I'm from Iowa! They grew up in the 70s -- I grew up in the 70s! In fact, I went to school not far from Ames and even lived there for a short while. But, that's where the similarities ended. I tried, but couldn't identify with these girls. Somehow, I don't think it's due to them personally, or their experiences.

I couldn't help feeling that I was getting the author's take on it all, rather than on the true spirit of the girls' friendships. I feel I know (more than I want to) all about the author's political and religious interests. I know very little about most of the girls. I appears some were deemed unworthy of much mention.

The strangest part of the book was the organization. Having written a non-fiction book myself, I agonized over how to make the information flow properly. It's a tough job. Connecting one chapter to another and building concepts was paramount to me. It seems this author put very little thought into the chronology of his information at all. Like a mixed-bag of ideas, the chapters stop and start and often repeat ideas and messages as if they'd not been mentioned before. I know that's not entirely the author's fault, but who edited this book, anyway?

The saddest thing is that even though I SO wanted to love this book, I can't even say I liked it.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Daenel on May 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women & a Forty~Year Friendship is an intimate look at the friendships of eleven women over a forty~year period. Interspersed with studies that highlight the importance of the development and maintenance of close relationships in the health and well~being of women, The Girls from Ames is part sociology study, part biography and part cultural reference book. The women came of age just at the tail end of the Baby Boom, so they are the immediate benefactors of the women's rights movement and other social changes that marked the 60s, 70s and 80s. It was fun to read about the different hairstyles and clothes the women wore and the music they listened to as their stories unfolded, these cultural references provided a musical and visual backdrop against which their stories could be shared by women from different walks of life.

During a weekend reunion, the women shared the details of their relationships (some good, some bad) with author, Jeffrey Zaslow. They also invited him to look at scrapbooks, read emails, interview friends, quasi~enemies and family to find out what has kept the girls so closely knit when other relationships have unraveled. At points, it seemed that the ladies' relationships were ebbing but the women proved that they did not need constant contact to remain close, especially when email came about and they were able to simply hit "Reply All."

The women have supported each other through elementary school, high school and beyond. They've offered shoulders to cry on when they've been given devastating news and they've given tough love when it was warranted. But more than anything else, they've been there for each other.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By ARK on February 17, 2011
Format: Paperback
I strongly disliked this book. It felt like a set of disconnected biographies rather than a cohesive story. I felt no connection to the characters at all-- I think that's because the author does little more than describe what happened in these women's lives, rather than give me a sense of who these women were. The tense that it was written in felt awkward (almost reads likes the first draft of a story) and the pacing was uneven.
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