Thursday, November 15, 2012

Review: Friendkeeping

Summary: From the beloved and bestselling memoirist comes a funny and affecting look at making the most of our friendships in an age of isolation.

With her inimitable wit and disarming warmth, Julie Klam shares with us her experiences, advice, and insight in Friendkeeping, a candid, hilarious look at some of the most meaningful and enjoyable relationships in our lives: our friendships.  

After her bestselling You Had Me at Woof, about relationships with dogs, Klam now turns her attention to human relationships to great effect. She examines everything—from the curious world of online friendship to the intersection of friendship and motherhood. She even explores how to hang on to our friendships in the toughest circumstances: when schadenfreude rears its ugly head or when we don’t like our friend’s mate.  

Klam relays a mix of brand-new and time-tested wisdom—she finds that longtime friends really can grow up without growing apart; that communication is key; that friendship is one of life’s great, free sources of happiness; that you’re not a friend, just a doormat, if you don’t get back what you give—and her discoveries range from amusing to deeply important.  

Charming, bracingly honest, and compulsively readable, Friendkeeping is an irresistible book, a treat that you’ll want to share with your best friends right away. Brimming with keen observations and laugh-out-loud moments, it’s delivered in the lively, accessible voice that Julie Klam’s readers have come to know and love. -- Riverhead
I can hardly believe that I've never read a book written by Julie Klam, but it's true. Even after kind of/sort of meeting her at a BEA party, I still hadn't picked up one of her books until FRIENDKEEPING:A FIELD GUIDE TO THE PEOPLE YOU LOVE, HATE, AND CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT arrived at my door. A funny book about friendship -- all of the ups and downs? I thought that might be what I need to get out of the cold weather/pre-holiday reading doldrums.

FRIENDKEEPING is basically Ms. Klam's personal advice book on all things related to friends and friendships. I have to admit when I started reading this book, I wondered what made Ms. Klam such an expert on friendship that she could write over 200 pages on the subject matter. (I told you that I'm in a bit of a funk right now!) However, I was quickly charmed by her intelligent insights and sharp wit. Moreover, I realized that she does have a grasp on friendship that I never could hope to have, and her advice is extremely sound. Never once did I feel she was preaching to me... and I think that was extremely critical to my enjoyment of this book.

The book is organized in chapters by subject matter. For example, she writes about sharing secrets, how to handle a friendship with three people, how to cope with not liking your friends' significant others, how to keep up a long-distance friendship and much more. It's the chapter titles, though, that really impressed me... and made me laugh quite a bit. Just to give you a little sense of the author's sense of humor, here are some of the ones that made me chuckle: Don't Be a Drain, When the Dog Bites, When the Bee Stings, Missed Connections, and From @Friends to IRL.

FRIENDKEEPING delves into all types of friendships from our childhood ones to our adult ones; and it even explores long-term and short-term friendships. However, I admit that one of my favorite chapters was on how online friendship has changed Ms. Klam's life. There were many parts of the book that I was able to relate to, but her thoughts on Twitter, Facebook, and other online social media communication were extremely close to my own. I loved her descriptions of the times she finally got to meet many of her on-line friends (or as my husband refers to them -- fake friends), and I have a feeling that many book bloggers will feel the exact same way.

Another part of FRIENDKEEPING that I liked was how Ms. Klam described how much she's learned about relationships, and especially friendships, from watching how her young daughter Violet interacts with her friends. I loved Ms. Klam's stories about Violet, and even her own childhood; and I think being a mother has definitely enhanced Ms. Klam's ability to not only understand various types of friendships, but also how to be a better friend.

Overall, I enjoyed FRIENDKEEPING a great deal and I think it's a fun read. It's an ideal gift this holiday season for all of the friends in your life!

Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy of this book.


rhapsodyinbooks said...

This sounds like a really valuable book to read!

bermudaonion said...

This sounds much better than I expected it to be. I was like you - I wondered how Klam could be an expert on friendships. I'll have to move this up my TBR pile.

Michele said...

I have always said I am horrible at being a friend and need a 'how to'. I am going to get this book.

Michele said...

I have always said I am horrible at being a friend and need a 'how to'. I am going to get this book.

Laura at Library of Clean Reads said...

I wouldn't think I needed advice on friendship but after reading your review I got all curious about this book. Friends are so important so who doesn't need a little advice on getting it right?

Sandy Nawrot said...

I've read Julie's dog books, and I think what makes her so capable of writing such a book is her power of observation. We all probably know this stuff deep down inside, but she has a gift to see things with a very practical viewpoint. I can't wait to read this one.

Beth F said...

Oh I need to get to this. I have had some friend trouble this year that still upsets me.

Lynda said...

This sounds interesting...and relationships can always use a guide!