Friendship by the Book: Friend or Frenemy?

Published: August 9, 2008 | Last Updated: August 9, 2008 By | Reply Continue Reading

When a new book on friendship came on the scene, I was eager to see where it fit on my already bulging friendship bookshelf. The just-released Friend or Frenemy: A Guide to the Friends You Need and the Ones You Don’t (Harper, 2008) by Andrea Lavinthal & Jessica Rozler is a quick summer read aimed at teens and young women who can probably breeze through the fast-moving pages within an hour—even while texting.

The chapters read like a series of Cosmo Girl magazine articles with lots of headers, little quizzes, and charts liberally interspersed between text. The book is an unambiguously humorous, rather than serious, take on friendship that makes abundant use of whimsy and has oodles of contemporary cultural references.

If you have no frenemies and you feel well-befriended, you will laugh out loud at the author’s portrayals of “users, losers and abusers” and “odd couples.” My favorite pages (perhaps because I tend to be deadly serious): the timeline of "Tragedies in Girlfriend History" and the chapter called "Misery Loves Company," on making new friends.

If you are heartbroken about losing a friend or feeling alone, this book isn’t the antidote for you—in fact, you may read it without a giggle and plummet into the depths of despair. I’d characterize this book as “Friendship Lite”—a fun read for someone under 25 whose friendships are largely intact.

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