The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship

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The Girls from Ames is the story of a group of ordinary women who built an extraordinary friendship. With both universal insights and deeply personal moments, it is a book that every woman will relate to and be inspired by. The new paperback edition of the book includes a page afterword, updating the story of the Ames girls. Info on Jeffrey Zaslow at: www. Karla, Kelly, Marilyn, Jane, Jenny. She and I ended up going into the same profession, and trained the same year, so we actually became friends ourselves. One of my pet peeves in reading books is the number of typos and grammatical errors that slip through.

Very impressive in this day and age of spellcheck!! I only hope there will be a follow-up book in about ten years so that I can catch up with their lives again. Are you listening, Jeffrey? View all 12 comments. Mar 14, Elizabeth rated it did not like it.

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How is this book popular!? It was poorly written, uninteresting, and shallow.

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I know that is harsh, but I would truly add this to a "10 most disliked books" list if I had one. There are books I don't like, but I can see why other people do. This does not fall into that category. It was awful. I didn't grow to care about the women in the book at all, and again, the writing made me want to throw it in the garbage.

I'm not familiar with Zaslow's articles for the WSJ, and perhaps he is good at that style of journalism. But he is NOT a memoirist, as this book clearly demonstrates. The first chapter is overly precious, describing the girls as though they were one fabulous entity. I hoped it would get better once he stopped talking about them collectively. It didn't. What's more, I hated that he wrote about the parents with no rules as "progressive" and "realistic," and used phrases like "they knew that Parents with rules were described as "square. Why do I care about these women?

How are these women different or more interesting than any random person I've ever met? They were actually more boring. How is that possible in a book? I had just come off of reading "The Middle Place" which was a far more compelling memoir for its writing , and gave me plenty of reasons to care about the characters, even if I didn't always LIKE the characters.

Mar 06, Leigh rated it really liked it Shelves: first-reads. The Girls from Ames is a great story.


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  • The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship.
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There are few women who could read this book and not be a little jealous of the love and support these ten women have provided each other for decades. Female friendships are truly unique, and the girls from Ames have graciously opened theirs to the world. This book is an honest look at both the joys and the heartache, the laughter and the tears. I truly enjoyed this book, and in turn value my own friendships that much more.

Feb 26, Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it Recommends it for: women and teen girls. Shelves: advance-copy , biography , non-fiction , readbooks-male-author-or-illust , reviewed , 1-also-at-librarything , z , zz-4star , goodreads-author. I was able to borrow this from a long distance friend thank you Terri! There are at least some photos there, and I printed them out and referred to them as I read. I hope the hardcover first edition copy is full of photos, of the 11 girls but also of their family members and others in their lives.

Although it took me longer to remember each of them, it was a richer experience once I was able to do so. Also, it turns out I was most interested in some of the peripheral people. I was most deeply touched by the story of Christie, the first child born to any the Ames girls. This book was only a 3 star book for me until that part. I continued to enjoy the book more and more all the way through the postscripts. A few of the events that happened in the most recent past were of most interest to me.

November Noon Book Discussion: "The Girls From Ames"

I had mixed feelings about these individuals and their group. They are ten years younger than me but, possibly given they came of age in the small town Midwest and I in a big city on the west coast, they seemed old fashioned, albeit racy.

Read This! "The Girls from Ames" by Jeffrey Zaslow

Also, as I got further and further into the book I understood the friendship s better. Reading this book is bound to make women and girls think about their female friendships. My groups consist of no more than four each and the most intimacy comes from the one on one relationships. I am somewhat in awe of these women staying in contact as they have, especially considering geographical distance, families, their differences.

View all 5 comments. Nov 28, Sara rated it liked it Recommended to Sara by: Review or ad somewhere. Shelves: , non-fiction. Written by the co-author of The Last Lecture , which is why I think this book drew my attention in the first place, The Girls from Ames chronicles the friendship between eleven girls from where else? Ames, Iowa, from their childhood to adulthood today. The story is definitely inspiring, hearing how these women have managed to create and maintain such strong bonds of friendship.


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There are stories from when they were young, stories from when they were in high school, then college, and 3. There are stories from when they were young, stories from when they were in high school, then college, and then as adults, when they are career- or family-focused. The author intersperses the narrative about their friendship with some studies and statistics about friendships in general, mentioning how friendships between women that have lasted until they're 40 years old are statistically likely to last for the rest of their lives.

THE GIRLS FROM AMES by Jeffrey Zaslow | Kirkus Reviews

Since the book is about eleven women whose friendship has lasted for multiple decades, there is obviously not enough room to tell the story of every little thing they went through together, and so the focus is on particularly major events in their lives. Some of the stories were not the most flattering, showing the darker and less appealing side of girls that can sometimes crop up both in their circle of friendship and with outsiders who resented their clique ; however, the majority of the stories were about instances where they helped each other through tough situations, such as illness, divorce, and death.

It was really nice to read about how their bonds with each other helped and the ways they offered support. Now, for my complaints. I was glad that the author included a "cheat sheet" near the beginning, with the girls' names, photos, and a short bio, helping me keep them straight. There were eleven main characters - not including the girls' family members - and it took me a while to remember who each one was. I also felt like some of the girls were given a lot more page time, as many of the stories focused on their lives, while a few of the girls were barely mentioned.

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After finishing the book, I feel like I have a good sense of the lives of maybe half the Ames girls; the others remain a mystery, despite their inclusion in the tale overall. Finally, although I enjoyed reading the book, it felt like something was lacking, though I can't put my finger on it. The story of friendship was nice, but I'm not sure the book overall provided a reason for the importance of focusing on these particular women. Maybe I just wanted to see something more, like there was room to delve deeper that was ignored. I'm glad I read this, and I certainly enjoyed it, but it's not one that I'd reread.

Aug 12, Carol rated it liked it Shelves: non-fiction. You can just tell that he is a compassionate man, who tells a story with such feeling, whether it be about women or men. I was saddened to hear of his death in a car accident this past February. Eleven women that formed an amazing bond and this man, Zaslow, who wanted to tell their story. It's to Zaslow's credit that he can capture the bindings of female friendship and infiltrate their group, gain their trust, and be if not, one of them, at least, a friend. At the beginning and throughout the story, Zaslow, in staccato fashion, calls out their names, KarlaSallyKarenDianaJennySheilaJaneAngelaMarilyCathyKelly and tells their stories of how they were able to maintain and remain friends all these years.

It's amazing to me that eleven kids, who mostly met in kindergarten, are in their 40's when the book is written, are able to overcome the hurtles of hurts, spites, petty jealousies, who said what, who did what, and grow into women that live in all corners of the US, still manage to meet every year or so, pick up where they left off, and continue to share memories like they were still in Ames.

Though not all is sunshine and rosy, you come away with a darn good feeling and wish you were part of this group. It renews my respect for womanhood, and the power of friendship.