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The Friends We Keep: A Woman's Quest for the Soul of Friendshipby Sarah Zacharias Davis
Synopses & Reviews
My eyes flooded with tears that began rolling down my face. Horrified at my public display of grief, I had to keep myself from all-out sobbing over Isabel's death before the person sitting next to me on the plane thought me mentally unstable and requested to be moved to another seat.
This was my third time reading the book The Saving Graces, and I cried all three times when each of the friends read Isabel's letters after her death. I stumbled upon The Saving Graces, a novel by Patricia Gaffney, one evening when perusing Barnes & Noble for something good. The words New York Times Bestseller caught my eye, and I decided to give Gaffney a try, though I was unfamiliar with anything she
The Saving Graces is the story of four friends and how each is there for the others through the ups and downs of life: childlessness, broken relationships, love, illness, and death. I read the book three times because I wanted to join the friendship circle of Lee, Rudy, Isabel, and Emma again and because it deeply impacted the way I viewed friendship, both the kind of friendships I wanted and the kind of friend I wanted to be. For me The Saving Graces raised the bar, as well as the stakes.
I loved the way the others supported Rudy when she moved out of her home and through the abuse she encountered.The unmitigated appreciation for each individual friend was evidenced as Isabel wrote parting letters to her three friends. I was inspired by the manner with which the friends got snippy with each other, and yet quickly forgave and forgot.
Finally, I was moved by how the loss of one left an enormous hole that could not, nor would, ever be filled in the others. I found this especially, exquisitely stunning, thus moving me to tears each time I shared these women's lives.They were there to defend, laugh, comfort, give physical care, and even
give space--all that real life requires. These were friendships of depth and honesty, strength and longevity. These friends loved each other in all their messiness. No one had to bring perfection to the friendship, only loyalty.
My reluctance to leave the world of the four women and close the book for the third time invited explorational thoughts of friendship. What was it about their friendships that left me reluctant to leave their company and return to my own life? Is that what my friendships were supposed to look like? Did I need to find a Rudy, an Isabel, a Lee, or an Emma to fill the longing that this novel surreptitiously uncovered in my soul? Did my own small collection of friendships seem not enough compared to the bond these four shared? And why not? Was it the way they supported one another or the way they alwaysmade time for one another? Or was it the way one could behave in a manner that was very unlovable and yet still remain loved?
At the risk of making a grand, sweeping gender statement, I'll point out that some men seem to have categories of friends. They have work friends, friends for playing weekly pickup basketball games, golfing friends, and friends forced on them by a significant other. Seldom do they see these friends outside their category of identity, yet they would call them friends.
Many of the friendships women hold, however, seem to make their way beyond the circumstances that brought
Why are women's friendships so tricky? During a particularly painful time in her life, Sarah Zacharias Davis learned how delightfuland woundingwomen can be in friendship. She saw how some friendships end badly, others die slow deaths, and how a chance acquaintance can become that enduring friend you need. The Friends We Keepis Sarah's thoughtful account of her own story and the stories of other women about navigating friendship. Her revealing discoveries tackle the questions every woman asks: Why do we long so for women friends? Do we need friends like we need air or food or water? What causes cattiness, competition, and co-dependency in too many friendships? Why do some friendships last forever and others only a season? How do I foster friendship? When is it time to let a friend go, and how do I do so? With heartfelt, intelligent writing, Sarah explores these questions and more with personal stories, cultural references and history, faith, and grace. In the process, she delivers wisdom for navigating the challenges, mysteries, and delights of friendship: why we need friendships with other women, what it means to be safe in relationship, and how to embrace what a friend has to offer, whether meager or generous. From the Trade Paperback edition.
About the Author
Sarah Zacharias Davis is an senior advancement officer at Pepperdine University, having joined the university after working as vice president of marketing and development for Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and in strategic marketing for CNN. The daughter of best-selling writer Ravi Zacharias, Davis is the author of the critically-acclaimed Confessions from an Honest Wife and Transparent: Getting Honest About Who We are and Who We Want to Be. She graduated from Covenant College with a degree in education and lives in Los Angeles, California.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
Table of Contents
Who do you call friend? — The roles we play — The lesson of Lucy van Pelt — Betrayal by burger — For love of friendship — The age of friendship — Soul friend — Light and mirrors — Surprised by friendship — A community of friendship — Circle of friends — The spaces between us — Companions along the journey — A branch of friendship.
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