I received this book for free from Author for review consideration, opinions expressed are 100% my own. This post contains affiliate links as indicated by an asterisk. Purchases from these links provides a small commission to me at no extra cost to you.My Other Ex: Women's True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends by Jessica Smock & Suzanne Sprenger
Published by The HerStories Project on Sept. 15, 2014
Genres: Biography/Memoir, Nonfiction, Women's
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“There can be so much good, so much power, so much love, in female friendships. But there is also a dark side of pain and loss. And surrounding that dark side, there is often silence. Women feel that there is no language to talk about their feelings. There is shame, the haunting feeling that the loss of a friendship is a reflection of our own worth or capacity to be loved. My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends is a step toward breaking that silence. The brave writers in this engrossing, diverse collection of 35 essays tell their own unique stories of failed friendships and remind us of the universality of loss.”
When one of my blogging idols, Alison from Writing, Wishing, asked me to read and review a book she contributed to, I jumped at the chance. Alison’s writing style is concise but she has a way of quickly drawing me into her story and making a deep, personal connection on whatever it is she’s writing about.
Alison and 34 other fabulously diverse writers have contributed essays about the female friends they’ve loved and lost along the way in My Other Ex. The book is divided into essays about friendships when they’re young, when they’re grown up and when they’re moms. Each essay takes us on the development and demise of a best friendship. My heart was filled with joy, giddiness, surprise, grief, and sadness as I read each story. The writing is brutally honest, each writer pouring onto the page her innermost thoughts and sometimes shocking confessions. This book took me on a reflective journey of my own friendships and helped me learn things about myself and the kind of friend I was and want to be. And that, my friend, is a pretty amazing and powerful book.
Who’s Your Best Friend?
The question seems innocent and easy enough. We’d hear it or say it all the time as kids. This book made me take a step back and really think about who my best friends were and what they meant to me. Just like the book, my best friends have changed according to the stage of my life. I wish I could say that my best friend from childhood was still as close to me now as we were then. Though we haven’t spoken in probably 10 years, I know if I called her up, it would be as if no time had passed. The easy conversation, the fun, love and support would still be there. As she told me before I moved, “old friends are the best.”
What Makes A Best Friend?
Being an only child and with boy cousins who lived far away, I loooonged for siblings. Someone to play games with, do homework with, teach us things they shouldn’t, get in trouble with, talk with and giggle with. I clung desperately to my friends, sisters in my heart.
As I’ve grown up, my friendship needs changed. The friends who ran down to the dorm store to buy Ben & Jerry’s ice cream to soothe boy troubles. The friend who helped me stay on track to study for the CPA exam. The friend who I could always count on to go shopping with me. The friend who didn’t judge the cleanliness of my house after bringing 3 boys into the world. The friend in whom I can truly confide my health, motherhood and career concerns. The friend who empathizes, listens and tries to understand. I’ve loved them all, for who they are and the friendship they gave to me.
Why Can’t We Be Best Friends Anymore?
I moved and left my childhood friends. I graduated college and my group of friends all went separate ways, married and had families of her own. Life got in the way and we’d lose touch. Distance always seemed my enemy. I’m bad about calling my friends just to chat and catch up. I’d try to maintain a friendship or reconnect, and sometimes it felt as some friends did not care about staying in touch. I’ve mourned the loss of so many friends and cherished the memories which they left me.
“How could anyone who hasn’t experienced it understand the particular torture of sleep deprivation?” ~ From essay: Losing Chloe, Losing Jen by Jennifer Simon
“Online relationships are written about often in blog posts and articles. We talk about how they are as real as the relationships we build in our off-line lives. We write about how we invest our emotions and time in people we only know through their words, and avatars. We watch those people grow as writers, mothers, daughters, wives, sisters. We watch their children grow up, and we share in their milestones.” ~ From essay: The Internet Breakup by Alison Lee
Tell me your friendship stories. Are you still best friends with your childhood friends? Have you lost friends along the way? What destroyed your closest friendships? Do you consider your online friends “real” friends”? Well I do, and I appreciate every IRL and bloggy friend I’ve made throughout my journey! Thanks for reading and sharing your stories with me!