I read this definition on the back:
“Sisterchick n: A friend who laughs with you till you cry and cries with you till you laugh; a gift from God.”
That resonated for me. I have friends like that. A very small handful. And I start to understand the wide success of this franchise (for lack of a better term for this enormously popular series of chick-lit novels.) These deep friends-who-feel-more-like-sisters all share a common bond that the author touched on in her definition: A spiritual component. How refreshing to have someone acknowledge that openly and honestly in mainstream fiction!
I glanced inside and read the prologue. Wow. An abnormal mammogram. And her mom died of breast cancer. And her first thought is she needs to spend a week on vacation with a wonderful friend. Has this woman been spying on me and my world? Did God send me this book? (I actually took a second look at the return address.)
Then I read the next chapter and fell in love with the main character. Because who doesn’t love a woman who engages in blatant cookie-dough therapy? I’m actually starting to think this book is about me. (Except that it isn’t. Because I don’t have any friends in the Netherlands.)
I dived right into the book, and couldn’t stop turning the pages because of the friendship, the spirituality, the resonance. (Besides, if it’s about me, I need to know what happens and how it ends.) This woman gets it. She gets women and their need for connectedness...to God and to close friends who share their beliefs.
I read about the devotional book she found on the night table of the guest room at her friend’s house, and remembered that I have a devotional book resting next to the sofabed in my guest room as well. I loved how comfortable they were discussing things of the spirit right along with the everyday, that it was such a natural part of both their lives. Because this is how my deepest friendships are too. It wouldn’t be the same if we didn’t share experiences and insights with that kind of depth and resonance.
The writing style didn’t appeal to me most of the time. I thought there were far too many descriptive details, along with every word of every conversation between the two friends. It’s kind of like hanging out with a friend who talks too much and won’t let you get a word in edgewise. In some ways I felt like I was tagging right along with them on vacation...but as the mute third wheel, eavesdropping like Gladys Kravitz. But I must admit I enjoyed the ride, even from the back seat.
As much as I enjoyed tagging along, it didn’t make me want to pick up the series and read all the rest of her books. Although it did make me want to join in the conversation. And ultimately, almost like nothing before, it made me want to write my own series of books about my own trips with my own Sisterchicks. (Except I don’t know if I can bring myself to use that word.) :)
I want to write about the life-changing hiking trip to Mammoth Resort with my friend CB, when I was deep in a post-partum depression. I want to write about my trip to the Salt Lake Temple with JH, and the great conversations we had driving up and down the canyon each day. I want to write about meeting AE in Colorado Springs, and how we saved each other’s sanity that week. I want to write about the time AS showed up at my house, unannounced, bearing two bags of Trader Joe’s goodies, and spent a wonderful week talking and cooking. I want to write about the museum trip with MB where we suddenly found ourselves conversing about the atonement with such joy in the shared discoveries. And I want to write about my amazing trip to California with MG to support her through an in vitro fertilization treatment, and the powerful effect it had on me.
My Sisterchicks (ouch! there I go, using that word again) are real. The time I spent with them was crucial, at pivotal points in my life. I honestly believe God placed them directly in my path at key moments in order to help me through some tough experiences (and vice-versa). Despite any issues I may have had with the writing, I’m grateful to have read a book that helped me remember and appreciate my own beloved soul-friends with such rich, vivid detail.