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  1. The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-year Friendship - Jeffrey Zaslow - Google книги
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  3. By JEFFREY ZASLOW
  4. The Girls From Ames - A Story of Women & A Forty-Year Friendship

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.

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.


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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: goodreads-author , advance-copy , biography , non-fiction , reviewed , 1-also-at-librarything , readbooks-male-author-or-illust , zz-4star , z 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.

CaringBridge -- The Girls From Ames Testimonial

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. 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.

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. 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.

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. 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. It reminds me to be nurture the friendships I have and to continue to seek out the company of women. View all 4 comments. Mar 17, Katherine marked it as to-read Shelves: not-owned. This came up as a "featured book," on my page; it's probably just coincidence that it's about my hometown! Not necessarily a book I'd go for otherwise, but I have to read anything about Ames.

Jun 03, Jennie rated it it was ok Shelves: human-behavior. I have very mixed feelings about this book. I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. However, the writer was a man and while that shouldn't be a problem, it kind of was for this book. Maybe a different man would have done a better job, but honestly, there was too much bewilderment from the author coming through the narrative. If I had to make a guess about this author, I'd guess that he likes and respects women, but is one of those men who find women to be an "other" some kind of un-und I have very mixed feelings about this book.

If I had to make a guess about this author, I'd guess that he likes and respects women, but is one of those men who find women to be an "other" some kind of un-understandable creature. And if this book had really embraced that perspective and tried to use these women to help other men understand women it probably would have been more honest to the author and frankly, a better read.

I'm sure that it doesn't help that the author is a columnist.


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  6. Like he had no idea how to structure the story he wanted to tell or create any drama or anticipation. So, while my feelings about the writing are pretty clear, my feelings about the women and their story are more complex. I'll be honest, I haven't had a group of girlfriends since I was a kid. I have girlfriends. They are wonderful and supportive and have become my pseudo-siblings.

    But they aren't a group. At this point, most of them have met each other, but I am friends with each of them pretty much independently of others. This fact may make me just totally unable to relate to the women who are the subject of this book. However, I like to think of myself as able to stretch and relate to people with different experiences from myself I am a social worker after all , and I sincerely hope that this isn't what my problem was. First of all, I had a terribly hard time keeping the women straight.

    I had to refer back to the photos at the front of the book all the way until the end of the book. This is supremely unusual for me. Seriously, I read King novels I love him, but damn does he like to have a huge cast of characters and fantasy books with maps and geneologies in the front. Now, I don't want to say that the real women from the book are indistinguishable because I'm sure that if I interacted with them in person they would be wonderful individuals. However, the characters were not presented in such a way that I was able to differntiate one from another.

    Secondly, the way the book was organized contributed to my inability to really keep them straight. I love a good flashback in a novel, but in this book it just annoyed the shit out of me. Frankly, I couldn't figure out what the organization was. It wasn't chronological, although it was vaguely chronological. It wasn't set up by "girl", although each chapter had a kind of focus on a particular woman.

    The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-year Friendship - Jeffrey Zaslow - Google книги

    Basically, it was frustrating. And there was no surprise or suspense as to what happened I mean the first pages with photos and info gave away the two deaths in the book. And, in the interest of being totally honest In fact there was a significant minority who did it.

    They went to college and then decided to become stay at home moms. Yea, I know. Don't shoot me. Don't leave nasty messages. I HATE this. But I don't. I judge, I'm human. So many of these women went to college and then chose to be stay at home moms. It seems really selfish and indulgent and retro in a bad way to me. In any case, it was a decision that a lot of the women in the book made.

    It made me not like them as much as I wanted to. However, what this book did do well was show real realttions between real women. They didn't always get along. They frequently disagreed. They were sometimes self-involved. But they were always presented as being real people. And more importantly, despite their challenges, they loved and supported each other. It was a really good depiction of what happens to women's friendships as they age and move away from each other. All in all, it was an interesting concept for a book. It just didn't live up to its potential.

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    Sep 04, Rebecca rated it liked it Shelves: bookclub-read. First let me say, I expected to like this book much better than I did. Therefore I was shocked when half way through I was ready to give it 2 stars and quit reading it. However, it was for a bookclub, so I decided to finish it and the last half was better and worth 3 stars. So I guess my true rating would be 2. Angela knew that she was being embraced by those in need of a friend, and she was OK with that at first. But she was cooler than those more desperate girls.

    I admire Sally for how she handled the situation, but it did not make me sympathetic towards the group as a whole.

    By JEFFREY ZASLOW

    A couple of other things made the whole book a bit difficult to follow: the fact that there were so many girls names to keep straight and the writing. While I have no doubt Zaslow is a good journalist, I agree with other reviewers that this book needed the touch of a novelist to delve into the deep meanings and ties of friendship. So, what did I like about the second half? Overall, I related more to the girls shared experiences as adults, perhaps because most of my best friends are miles away and yet we have stayed close and supported each other through the rough times of adulthood as well.

    I think I would recommend this book if you can overlook how much emphasis it places on the girls exclusive click in high school and appreciate that such an amazing friendship between 10 women has lasted thirty years. View 2 comments. May 06, Kate rated it liked it Shelves: cannonball-read. Exactly what makes a good book a good book? How is it defined? Do we base it on an inspiring writing style? Or something that leaves you with a message sunk deep into your bones? Or is a good book something that has stood up to the passing years, surviving fads and unpopularity?

    I suspect that critics and lay people have been debating this since the advent of the printing press, but I only bring it up because I am unsure of how to judge this particular work. Jeffrey Zaslow, the author, has created an odd work. It is really just a column that runs pages. This is where my difficulty with the book comes in. If I just based my judgment of this book on the writing, I would probably end my review here with some curt punctuation.

    Yet, I have trouble doing that. Now, at 24, I find myself in NYC for almost a year and feel terribly alone.

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    Out of sight, out of mind. The Girls from Ames made me feel that loneliness and guilt more than ever. Do I keep my opinion totally style-based? Or do I judge it based on its affect on me? That would make it a perfectly reasonable read and a good use of my time. May 30, Alethea A rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: girls and women everywhere, and anyone who would like to understand us.

    Shelves: tearjerker , re-read , psychology , biography , boys-and-girls , love. I didn't think I would like this book half as much as I did. I am not a non-fiction reader; I like my non-fic in magazine-article doses, preferably out of Entertainment Weekly. Better yet, just give me a list, just the top ten. I found myself keeping a finger stuck between the pages that show the Girls' photos, and every time something in particular about their story resonated for me, I'd flip to the front and look at the Girl or Girls in question.

    I felt myself wanting to know them, to look the I didn't think I would like this book half as much as I did. I felt myself wanting to know them, to look them in the eye. Through this book, in an infinitesimal way, you can meet them. You had to have been there. But I am so glad for this peek into their lives and the friendship they share.

    In a way, they offer a glimpse into understanding myself. Jeff Zaslow, you've got balls to venture into this territory. A woman at my store told me she did not think this book would appeal to her year-old daughter and left hurriedly before I could reply. Any girl who has had a friend, or wanted one; any girl who has had a sister, or wanted one; any woman who knew her mother or daughter well, or never knew her at all, or wished she knew her better; any girl who has ever felt alone and needs to know she isn't or doesn't have to be, can relate to and enjoy this book.

    I didn't think it would appeal to me not being an upper-middle class Midwestern housewife but I have been all of these girls at one point or another. From childhood crushes to familial heroes, from mean-girl intrigues and girlfights to crying sessions and group hugs, from courtship to marriage--I've been at some of those same intersections of life. And I can see the first blips of other life milestones of theirs that I will pass too: career changes, motherhood, maturity, illness, and all the grief, joy, and beauty that is to come.

    Thanks, Girls. I'm looking forward and backward at the same time. Mar 06, Monika rated it really liked it Shelves: first-reads. Sure they disagreed sometimes, but overall, they we're the true epitamy of best friends. Great, great read! SO glad i got this as a first reads! I do like this book. I think the stories about the friends are amazing, and I know the feeling of being separated from close girlfriends. The stories bring back memories from my own childhood, even though I grew up in a big city.

    The one issue I have with the book is that it is written too "journalistically" and not like a "story teller" would tell a story. There are points where I caught myself thinking, why is this side story about a completely different person in here, when I have 11 charachters to already keep track of! I think this is a book I am definately going to give my future daughter, so that she can realize eary on how important true friendships are, and how regardless of how different you may be, or how you grow in different ways in life, that your true friends will love you for who you are regardles I can't wait to jump into it!

    Aug 05, Mandy rated it liked it. I thought this book was an interesting idea, in concept. It was a quick, easy read. It would be good for a book club book or for a group of girls who have or appreciate long lasting friendships. In my opinion the stories of the women and the sociological reflections by the author were often jarring and not seamless.

    Sometimes you felt like you were reading an email, other times you felt like you were reading a textbook. I also had a difficult time getting into the writing. I come from a school of I thought this book was an interesting idea, in concept. I come from a school of creative writing that preaches showing vs. And the author did a lot of telling. Its understandable did a lot of telling because he was He was reporting.

    It was journalistic, socioligical studying in nature. I get it. I just can't dig it. I really really wanted to love this book. Perhaps if I had a core of girlfriends from the age of kindergarten onward I would have appreciated it more. I did enjoy, as I said before, the concept of the book, the relationship of the friends and all they'd been through. I also found connections with specific women in the book. I guess, in short, I thought the book was a gimmick.

    While the author meant everything he wrote about the importance of female friendships, to me it is to "on the nose" an attempt to create a book for female friends, book clubs, Oprah. Call me cynical. I would however reccommend this book to friends who enjoy the likes of Eat, Pray Love, books that combine anectotes with studies, etc. I will say the book did make me appreciate the friendships with family that I have. My family was my first friends and I've had them forever! May 21, Jennifer rated it it was ok.

    It has taken me many months to read this. I read a little of this book at a time in between novels because it just wasn't compelling enough to hold my attention. I'm not much of a non-fiction reader, but having spent the first 12 years of my life in Ames, I was intrigued by this book. Sadly, it is not very well written, and I was also a little turned off by what these girls were like as teenagers though I think I'd like most of them as grown women. I realize that many people lacked good sense a It has taken me many months to read this. I realize that many people lacked good sense as teenagers, but I've never had much patience for that nor for the adults that then assume that their own teenagers have to act in the same stupid waysas if stupid teenagers are inevitable.

    What I enjoyed most were the few memoirs of Ames that struck a sentimental chord for me like mentions of Boyd's Dairy. I was too young to know the girls in the story, but I did know one of their dads, Dr. McCormack, which made the story even more personal. That being said, I felt that too much attention was lavished on the doctor in this book; he seems to have been a great man, but this book shouldn't be about him. And too much attention was given to Kelly one of the "girls" and her opinions. This book may worth reading if you are from Ames and were born in the 60s or late 50s, or if you are from any small town and have maintained close friendships with friends from your youth.

    It is heartwearming to read how these girls managed to maintain connections to such an extent that they are able to provide support to one another throughout their lives. Feb 25, Lisa rated it did not like it Shelves: biography-memoir. I didn't finish this book. I read about half of it, and was interested in the stories of the eleven friends who make up the group and how they got together when they were chldren and became "the Shisters.

    I was also interested in the author's insertion of results of studies that have researched friendship and how they compared to this group of friends. As they left high scho I didn't finish this book. As they left high school and their stories became individual with some descriptions of planned or unplanned reunions , rather than the stories of a group of "girls," I lost interest.

    I also sometimes felt like a voyeur, wondering why these friends would share such intimate details of their lives with the author--even stories they may not have shared or discussed with anyone in the group--and I wondered why I cared to read about those stories. Not for me, although I really liked the author's earlier work on The Last Lecture. Jul 07, Laurie rated it it was ok. I was thinking I'd like this book a lot more than I did.

    Women and friendship sounds good. I think having a male author made this a more clinical read--I never really cared about the women as characters or individuals. I guess he focused on her beca I was thinking I'd like this book a lot more than I did. I guess he focused on her because she was liberal, single, and feminist. Why are women only applauded as feminists when they have careers like men? When will society value the work that goes into raising a family?

    Isn't that feminist too? Sep 07, Kim rated it liked it. I really enjoyed reading about the girls and them growing up in Ames. May 28, Rhonda rated it it was ok Shelves: read-in OK, maybe it's really a 2. Wall Street Journal comumnist sets out to write a story on "the deep bonds of women as they experience life's joys and challengesand the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy.

    The book was more his story-telling than his deductions on friendship, but it was still interesting. I expected more "reflection" and what he learned from it all Some quotes: the few statements in the book that are reflective regarding Kelly's daughter's interest in the periodic reunions of these women: "She plans to tell Liesl the specifics of the weekendwhere they went for dinner, how they went for hikes, the sort of conversations they had until early in the morning.

    But those are just the particulars. What Kelly really hopes Liesl will pick up in her retelling is a feeling of how deep the bonds between women can get. She's not sure what exact words she'll say, but Kelly the wordsmith would like her daughter to know this: Having these women in my world has meant not only acceptance, but radiant joy and laughter that knocks me right out of my chair.

    Through our darkest moments, we have lifted each other up. In every moment of grief we've shared, our laughter is a life vest, a secure promise that we will not go under. Perhaps, they say, it is because over the years, they have come up with unspoken or barely acknowledged ground rules that seem to work. They don't brag about their husbands' jobs or incomes. They talk about their children's achievements, but not in a gloating way.

    The Girls From Ames - A Story of Women & A Forty-Year Friendship

    They root for each other's kids, just as they root for each other. They make every effort to be with each other for key events in their lives: weddings, serious illnesses, funerals. If they have disagreements among themselves, if they have negative opinions about each other, if they have things that need to be hashed out, it all remains in the group.

    As young women, they moved to eighth different states, yet they managed to maintain an extraordinary friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, the death of a child, and the mysterious death of the eleventh member of their group. Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls from Ames is a testament to the enduring, deep bonds of women as they experience life's challenges, and the power of friendship to overcome even the most daunting odds.

    The girls, now in their forties, have a lifetime of memories in common, some evocative of their generation and some that will resonate with any woman who has ever had a friend. The Girls from Ames demonstrates how close female relationships can shape every aspect of women's lives-their sense of themselves, their choice of men, their need for validation, their relationships with their mothers, their dreams for their daughters-and reveals how such friendships thrive, rewarding those who have committed to them.

    With both universal events and deeply personal moments, it's a book that every woman will relate to and be inspired by. The Girls in the Photos. The Things They Remember. The Intervention. Their First Child. Tears in the Ladies Room. Cooperation and Appreciation. Through Kellyy Eyes. Mysteries and Memories. FBB and Other Secrets.