• Keeping Friends

Friendship by the Book: To My Dearest Friends

Published: September 14, 2007 | Last Updated: November 24, 2022 By | Reply Continue Reading

With great wit, Patricia Volk has captured the essence of female friendships in her new novel, To My Dearest Friends (Alfred A. Knopf, 2007). If you enjoy the humor of Woody Allen, read this book.

After their best friend Roberta Bloom (Robbie) dies of breast cancer, two of her friends get to meet each other for the first time: Nanny Wunderlich (a psychotherapist turned Carnegie-Hill realtor) and Alice Vogel (owner of a upscale Madison Avenue resale shop)… 

The two friends-of-a-friend have “zilch in common,” living in two different worlds, albeit on the same island of Manhattan. The unlikely pair is thrown together when Robbie leaves instructions for her two best friends to jointly open her safe deposit box after her death. There, they meet and find a mysterious letter written to Robbie by a previously
unknown-to-them lover. The two women wrestle with what, if anything, they should do with this secret.

This storyline provides a vehicle to explore the personalities of the three women (Robbie, Nanny and Alice) as well as the depths of women’s friendships. The author wryly describes the shared rituals of friendship: how our female friends are the people with whom we like to shop, laugh, and see movies—the ones we want to have at our side when we have mammograms and when we grow old.

This is a provocative read that makes you laugh out loud and think about the legacy you might leave behind for your own female friends. The unexpected ending compels you to read the book again to make sure there is nothing you
missed—and then to share it with your best friend to make sure you understood it.

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