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Husbands May Come and Go but Friends Are Forever Kindle Edition
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Though falling into the category of `chick lit' (a VERY lucrative and popular assignation these days!) Judith Marshall just writes so well that it is doubtful this book will ever fall out of favor. Not only can she distill the humor of the baby boomer (and a few years before the designated starting point of 1946!) age, especially women who have come through the `Mad Men' housewife station and advanced to independent careers, but she can also plumb the depths of honest expression of loss, love, need, hope and hilarity that accompanies that segment of our society. Marshall's been there done that approach to this novel makes it not only wholly credible, but wonderfully heart felt and enormously fun to read.
Brief synopsis (better to read the book for the details and joy): Elizabeth Reilly-Hayden is a 60-year-old HR director who after preparing packets for the newly laid off personnel finds that biggest packet her own - no job, her long term lover is being transferred to the East Coast, her children are `divorcing' her (moving out), and instead of jumping into the fray of the eligibly unemployed she gathers her very longterm best friends Karen, JoAnn, Gidge, Rosie and Arlene each of whom has weathered menopause, multiple marriages, dramatic divorces, and other frustrations. When the news of Karen's death in a motorcycle accident, as is their custom the band of sisters decide to trek to Lake Tahoe (the deceased Karen's vacation home) to tend to the funeral arrangements for Karen as well as attempt to analyze the mystery of the accident that took Karen's life. It is a time where each of the friends reveals the spectrum of emotions that accompany grief, but also that because of their profound bonding leads to some of the most marvelous humor and tales and `withheld information' that begins to flow from the mutual coming together: the arrival of ex-husbands and grown child to mourn only adds to the images so beautifully defined by the author that they plead to be shared with future re-reads.
On every level this is a book of unbounded love, that sort of depicted relationships that once again proves that friends are our most important treasure. Read this book and enjoy belly laughs and tears equally. Brava! Grady Harp, July 14
Reading the novel, it struck me again that guys simply don't have this kind of honesty in their bonds, that raunchy and irreverent as the women in Marshall's novel are, it wouldn't work nearly as well with guys. For one, the dialog would have to be limited to what a man can emote as he's burping.
But I digress. To my mind, fiction's power increases the closer it veers toward reality. Not physical reality (can't leave out magical realism and sci-fi), but emotional reality - and this story gets it right page after page. Yes, there are some cliches, a few borrowed phrases here and there, but the underlying truth is never obscured and always alive. The world went away as I read.
I also ask fiction to give me emotions (and I'm SO alone in that). This story delivered, time and again. Marshall displays a great deal of talent, and she handles flashback seamlessly such that we come to know these six women as if they were our sisters, mothers, or aunts. In addition, in classic story fashion, both I and the protagonist have learned something valuable by story's end.
Do I want to see the movie? I've seen The Big Chill several times. I'd like to see this one done just as well, so it too can become a repeat view. Just like the book.
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