Friday, August 6, 2010

With Friends Like These Review

Four women bring their distinct personalities to an apartment in Manhatten. All are in the beginning stages of their careers and in the prime of their lives. The story opens with Chloe and Talia, already close friends, apartment shopping in Manhatten. They are quickly acquainted with Quincy, fresh out of a relationship (hence, the empty apartment) and are joined by Jules. The chapter closes in a group hug to seal the deal.

Ten years later the women are still relatively close. They meet regularly and keep contact constantly even as their lives have progressed.

Quincy is married to an attorney and, ironically, looking for an apartment to buy. She and her husband are childless, although not by choice. Having suffered more than a couple of miscarriages, her maternal pull is nearly hysterical. She finds herself in the perfect apartment with a payment she can afford. She tells Jules who promptly tells her boyfriend, Arthur who happens to have an apartment in the building but much smaller. He decides he wants it and throws his hat in the ring, possibly derailing Quincy and her husband from getting it. This causes a huge rift between Quincy and Jules.

Jules strikes me as the stereotypical Italian New Yorker. She loves food and loves to make her presence known. She is loud (and obnoxious) and well loved. Successful as a hand model and professional shopper, she sees no problem with her indiscretion with Arthur. Jules is the single and childless friend, although it seems to be her choice. She is the rock that holds the quad together. But then even a rock sometimes gets tipped.

Talia is first generation American, having parents who immigrated from Russia 38 years ago. Native of the west coast, she moved to the east coast to attend college, met a man, married him, and stayed. She has a pre-school age son, Henry, and job shares with best friend, Chloe, working for an advertising company. Talia is discontented. She doesn't like her job and resents her husband's paltry school teacher salary and unfinished doctoral thesis. When the opportunity for her to change jobs presents itself, she struggles with her own ethics. The job opportunity is meant for Chloe. Jealousy is a recurring issue for Talia. She covets what everybody else has and puts friendship and family in jeopardy.

Chloe is a well bred woman who married Xander, a man who came from poverty, rose above it and became a hedge fund manager. They are loaded. They also have a three year old son and Chloe starts the Ten-Years-Later in the bouts of hiring a nanny. She has exquisite and expensive taste, is completely guileless and assumes everybody else is the same. Of course, nobody escapes this life unscathed, and this applies to Chloe.

The book progresses through the four voices. The stories are told first person as each character tells a chapter. Their voices are distinct and their stories are realistic and believable. The relationships between the women are tested through subtle yet damaging choices. Each woman contributes to a rift but allows pride to trump friendship. Each woman shares her thoughts of the importance of friendship.

I really enjoyed the book. Contains "f" bomb consistently attributed to Jules voice. Other than language, fairly clean read. I would recommend for women's book group. Excellent platform for exploring women and friendship. Perfect Chick Lit.


Cheryl said...

Thanks for the lovely review of Sally's book. Bloggers have really enjoyed this book during the tour so far. I'm glad you're one of them.

Thanks for taking the time to review With Friends Like These.


CountessLaurie said...

Thanks for the review. Added to my list :-)

Sally Koslow said...

Many thanks for wonderful review of WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE. I am especially grateful for the reviwer recommending this novel to women's book groups who'd like to explore women and friendship--always challening. Thank you, too, for noting that the story lines were realistic and the four first-person voices, distinct.

Tomorrow is the pub date for WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE and I am hoping many of your readers will enjoy this book.

Sally Koslow