What We're Reading Now: 'Friendship' by Emily Gould

No post last week, as I assumed we were all off reading The Constitution with our nearest and dearest, but we’re back together again to discuss the much (much) lauded Friendship by Emily Gould (EW‘s review is here.)

The way I came by reading Friendship is this: Stephan popped by my desk asking, “Do you like reading books about yourself?” I giggled a little—wholly unaware there were any books about me—and just as I was about to flip my hair, give a little wink, and mutter something mind-blowingly witty, he quickly clarified that what he meant was, “Do you like reading books about youngish ladies working in publishing in New York City living the messy, crazy struggle that is working in publishing in New York City as a youngish lady?”

Um, yes, Stephan, sure, I would love to bond with my narrator over the shared experience (or pain) of living off Cup Noodles, Tuna Packets and the irregular thrill of having a freelance article picked up for the 12-24 months immediately following college while taking night classes towards a Masters and praying for a full-time staff position.

And, actually, I found I meant it and graciously accepted his copy.

For the first 125 pages or so, I really did feel it was about me. I’ve got best girls here in the city. I’ve had shitty jobs. I’ve certainly cried when looking at my bank balance. I’ve worked at publishing houses and as a temp and at magazines.

But these are the surface-level aspects of the plot. The most important part of the book, which I’ve also had to navigate in the two years since moving here, is the often-convoluted relationships women build between themselves; power dynamics, love, jealousy, support… competitive friends to helpless friends to completely oblivious friends… it’s all part of the experience.

The dynamic between Amy and Bev is the meat of the book and they go through all the above (and, honestly, more) as they oscillate between their unmatching levels of personal and professional success.

I lost my appetite for one of the girls around page 130 and, as is often the case in books that change perspectives by the chapter, I found myself skimming through one girl’s life to get back to that of the other. Maybe that says something about me—but I can’t very well say what it is without ruining your chance of meeting these girls as the blank canvases you deserve. (Plus, what if you sympathize with the one I can’t stand? Awkward.)

On the whole, it was enjoyable, relatable, quick and—given that I have spent days discussing it with my own best girls—wholly worthwhile.

Has anyone else read it? Something similar?


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