B.F.F. A Memoir of Friendship Lost and Found by Christie Tate

Writing: 4/5 Plot: 4/5 Characters: 5/5
This humorous and insight-rich memoir focuses on the author’s work on forming and maintaining female friendship — something that has been problematic for her for some time. The journey is immersed in the Recovery (12 step) world — a world I have no personal exposure to (except through the hilarious sitcom “Mom”) — but I found it pretty easy to pick up the vocabulary and principles. Despite that, I resonated a lot with her inner turmoil and suspicions and enjoyed the frank and honest way she progressed to a place where she could improve. It occurred to me that those of us who don’t have specific problems with any of the 12-step addictions could definitely benefit from the precepts and processes of these programs.

The narrative centers around a particularly strong friendship that she forms with Meredith and progress she makes with several previously close friends where the friendships ended one way or the other without resolution. I enjoyed her open self-analysis and her successes, and I liked the focus on friendships (one character pointing out that “All the tools for romantic relationships work for friendships”). There were parts that made me cringe and get judgmental, and that was instructional, too.

Some acronyms of recovery (new to me and I liked them):
KISS (keep it simple, sweetie)
ODAT (one day at a time)
FEAR (false evidence appearing real)
SHAME (should have already mastered everything)

Thank you to Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book will be published on February 7th, 2023

We Are The Light by Matthew Quick (Fiction)

Writing: 5/5 Characters: 4.5/5 Plot: 4/5

I’m blown away by this book and the way the author has managed to write about an incredibly difficult subject so powerfully without once becoming maudlin, trite or descending into Hallmark territory. I can tell you that I out and out cried (and not quietly) through the last third because of the way the author managed to capture the essence of such deeply felt and universal core emotions in mere words. I’m not doing this justice because I don’t have that skill — you’ll have to just trust me!

The story is about a town which has experienced an inexpressible tragedy. It does not focus on the tragedy itself but on the slow process of healing — for everyone — and the way Lucas Goodgame — a high school counselor led the way while simultaneously struggling himself. The narrative is contained in a series of letters Lucas writes to his Jungian analyst who inexplicably closed his practice after the event and stopped responding.

For all that I can’t remember the last time I cried so much at a book, I was never once depressed by it — far more inspired by it. The last line was a brilliant pulling together of the whole.

I was introduced to a new (for me) word which I just loved: numinous — having a strong religious or spiritual quality; indicating or suggesting the presence of a divinity.

While there are a lot of great quotes in this book, I don’t feel that I can include them without ruining the flow of the book, so … you’ll have to read them in context yourself!

Thank you to Avid Reader Press / Simon & Schuster and NetGalley for providing an advance copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. The book was published on November 1st, 2022.