The Book Boost welcomes author Sally Koslow!
She's here to discuss the trials and tribulations of friendships. Here's what she had to say...
When North Starts Looking Like South
If we're lucky, we find caring friends who'll value us as much as we value them. They'll make us balloon animals if life throws a suckerpunch and don't secretly rejoice when we gain a chin and a second mortgage. Nor do they send us internet chain letters with apocalyptic threats should we fail to forward the news flash to 17 pals in the next hour. It's when such sterling friends disappoint us that north starts looking like south.
This is the theme—disappointment among friends—that I explore in my new novel, With Friends like These.
We know not every friend is destined to be a perennial, the James Taylor or Carole King of our emotional road show. What brings a friendship to the Do Not Resuscitate point? The result depends on how bad we feel we've been had, whether and to what degree the evil one serves up remorse and plain old manners.
Here’s what got me going on writing With Friends like These. A buddy tried to snatch an apartment I found and bid on. Afterward we didn't speak for many months. This wasn't exactly Draconian punishment, but I missed her enough so that once she sang her sorries, we moved on. I had a harder time trying to get past a very close (or so I thought) chum who "by mistake" copied me on an email whining about how she didn't want to go to my last book party. I was hurt at this and other passive-aggressive gestures I began to realize I could not overlook.
The slow erode of this friendship -- which I thought would be a lifer -- is more painful than the bruise caused by the savage apartment-hunter, because with my party-dissing friend I'd believed there was an unbreakable mutual regard. Realizing that you're not appreciated at a molecular level moves a relationship into the land of phony baloney, a place reached by sailing on the ship of fools -- and truly, who's got the time? Do. Not. Resuscitate.
An early reviewer of With Friends like These called its story line -- about four once-close women -- "achingly real." The characters don't set out to hurt one another, but reality gets in the way, and sooner than you can say steak tartare, four friendships turn raw.
The gaping hole in our lives left by the missing friendship can hurt like a phantom limb. Which is why With Friends like These is also a story of forgiveness. Because is any aspect of friendship more important and profound than forgiveness? I don’t think so. If you can’t be a person who learns to forgive, you can’t be a good friend.
A Note from the Book Boost: Sally, you seem to have a lot of patience with fair weather friends. I commend you for that! Please tell us more about you and your book.
SALLY KOSLOW is the author of The Late, Lamented Molly Marx and Little Pink Slips. Her essays have been published in More, The New York Observer, and O, The Oprah Magazine, among other publications. She was the editor in chief of both McCall's and Lifetime, was an editor at Mademoiselle and Woman's Day, and has taught creative writing at the Writing Institute of Sarah Lawrence College. Her latest release is With Friends Like These. The mother of two sons, she lives in New York City with her husband.
When Quincy, Jules, Talia, and Chloe become New York City roommates in the early nineties, they become fast friends despite their drastically different personalities. Now, nearly twenty years later, their lives have diverged as much as they possibly can within one city: Quincy is mourning a miscarriage and lusting for the perfect Manhattan apartment; Jules, a woman with an outsize personality, is facing forty alone; Talia, married and the mother of a four-year-old, is her family's reluctant breadwinner; and Chloe faces pressure from her hedge fund manager husband to be more ambitious. As these women grapple with the challenges of marriage, motherhood, careers, and real estate, they can't help but assess their positions in life in comparison to each other--leading them to envy and disillusionment. Honest and entertaining, and written in Sally Koslow's trademark wry, vivid prose, With Friends Like These asks serious questions about what makes female friendship endure, and to whom a woman's loyalty most belongs.