I snatched up The Girls From Ames from my local public library last week. A few days later I picked up the book and began reading. After the first page I had wished that I had bought the book because I have the urge to highlight just about every other sentence! Instead, I’ve doggie-eared about half of the pages from the intro and first chapter.
Just into the first few pages, my throat started to knot up a few times…I have a feeling this book is going to be beyond emotional (at least for me). I think that I feel over-the-top emotional as I’m reading because I am relating it so much to my own life and my own friendships. I’m already picking out which girls I most relate to, and which girls are most like my friends (and family…because you are my friends, too.)
I was surprised at first when I read in the intro that they still called themselves girls, but right away, I appreciated the honesty in that statement. Growing up is a funny thing. When I was a kid, I thought people my age were so old! They have jobs, marriages, families, bills…OLD! However, now that I am “old,” I still feel like I am that girl in high school. I’ve coached middle school and high school age girls in volleyball, and I felt like they could be my friends…that was until I realized I was ten years older than them! A decade!
When I am around my friends though…I am that girl…I feel like a girl, not a “woman” and I am okay with it. I kind of hope that I always just feel like “a girl.”
I know I posed the question which of the eleven girls do you most relate with, but I’m going to take the easy way out. I read and reread trying to pick out which girl was “me,” but I just couldn’t pin-point one of the girls. I saw bits and pieces of myself in each one of them…well, except for Kelly. Kelly definitely seems like the most outgoing girl of the group, and right away I relate her to my little sister. Just like the other ten girls looked to Kelly to ask the question that they were all thinking but were too afraid to ask…that is kind of how my sister was for me. I didn’t buy a thong until I found out she had bought and worn thongs (yes, the panties, not the shoes!) I didn’t drink until after she drank. I even made her ask out my mom’s now new husband for her, because I was too scared!
I relate to Marilyn as she is described as a bit of an outsider. Growing up I had a lot of friends, but I was never totally “in” with all of their groups. I relate with Sheila for having the dark hair and being the little girl everyone thought was cute. I relate to Karla for “not always being sure of herself.” While I feel sure of who I am as a person now, I still have an insecurity when it comes to meeting new people.
How did we all get here? The girls in the book don’t really remember how they all arrived at being best friends. Is this the same for you? I do remember meeting my first real best friend the first day of kindergarten. My anxiety and insecurity with meeting new people has been a part of me all my life, but I guess at age six I didn’t let it get the best of me! I remember getting on the bus my first day of school and finding another kindergartener that I thought was pretty. Then I simply asked, “Do you want to be my friend?”
Thank goodness she said yes!
Now, as an older “girl” living in a new town with the same anxiety about meeting people…I wish I could just go back to being that six year old girl and just ask the people here if they want to be my friend!
Aside from my family, my closest friends now are friends that are newer in my life…friends that I’ve made since being married (and through being married); therefore, for the most part, I remember when and how I met each one of them. Now, how we became best friends out of all the other girls we know, I think that answer could only come from God.
This is the same for the bloggie-world. I have “met” some girls through reading their blogs, and I have felt an instant connection with some of them. How did we get here? How did I find my way to their blogs out of the millions of blogs out there?!
There was another line in the book that caught my eye. Zaslow talks about how the girls are popular and not afraid to “strut their stuff,” but that they are actually insecure individually. I think this is true of almost all adolescents, and probably true in many adults. I’ve already admitted to having anxiety about meeting new people (amongst the zillion other anxieties I have), but a good group of friends is powerful.
You girls give me a security that I would not otherwise have. I believe that is why God gave me YOU…He knew what I needed, and He provided me with it.
I’ve talked too much now about myself and my thoughts…not it is your turn. Tell me what you think! (Please!)
P.S. I LOVE this book!