One place I love to find a new book is in an airport bookstore. They have the obvious: newest Danielle Steal or diet fad book to just hit the shelves. But then they also have those books, featured on book stands that you would never pick up if you were to go into an overwhelming Barnes and Noble or Boarders. The books that just stand out and yell, “read me now!”
That’s exactly what Jennifer Weiner’s newest novel “Best Friends Forever” did to me in an LAX bookstore before my Christmas trip home to Connecticut. (Ironically the same place Weiner herself grew up.) Since my move to L.A. I couldn’t help but feeling distant from some of my friends from home. A lot has changed in the nine months I have been in the sun and I guess I was feeling a little anxiety about having to actually face the change head on. This book, with two friends walking along the beach on the front cover, couldn’t help but make me feel like maybe it would be okay. So I picked it up.
The story of Addie Downs and Valerie Adler’s friendship is a rocky one. As childhood neighbors Valerie was one of the few people to give Addie a chance but when high school came and Val was put into the popular crowd, Addie’s best friend was gone faster than her midnight cookies. (She was a night time binge eater.) As time passed so did Val’s life. She lived all over the country while Addie just stayed cooped up in her parent’s home she had inherited until one night, when Val comes knocking on the door in need of help.
Not to ruin the ending for you but obviously it is a happy one. Addie, with her preparedness and calm attitude gets the two girls out of all of the sticky situations crazy Val puts them into.
While reading this book I couldn’t help but think of my friendships back at home. Although none of us are an Addie or a Val we are all growing, and in some cases that does mean growing apart. I hope I never have to know what not talking to my best friends for 15 years feels like, but if we are at all like these two ladies, I know that we would always be there for each other when we need it. And just because we don’t agree with each other or understand what each other are doing, it doesn’t mean we are drifting, it just means we are different. We are a loner and a cheerleader in two different circles but we will always have our neighborhood to go back to.