A memoir about friendship, womanhood, and the idea that girls just want to have fun.
Debut author Preuss begins her story as a 20-something transplant from the East Coast in 1999 Los Angeles. There, she made friends with two co-workers, Nikki and Panooch, while waiting tables in the Century City neighborhood. In a series of sitcom-esque anecdotes, she tells of Panooch trying to teach her to walk in heels, of them capitalizing on their acting skills to con their way out of a traffic ticket, and of getting an awkward lap dance at her own bachelorette party.
She married Rich, a television director, and they became fast friends with Chris and Cecilia, a couple she met through a substitute-teaching gig. The foursome were inseparable, and once, Chris even rescued Preuss from a snake in her living room. The narrative takes a turn, however, when Chris is diagnosed with cancer. As Preuss writes, “I certainly would rather tell you a story about when we went to Palm Springs and stayed in bed the whole time re-watching The Notebook five times after finding hot, sexy, deleted scenes on YouTube. But this is real life. Life isn’t full of all funny and happy stories.” In the aftermath of Chris’ diagnosis, the storytelling resonates most. Preuss strikes a nice balance between sentimentality and humor when discussing hospital visits and the absurdity of dying young. Soon, though, the memoir returns to Sex and the City–like territory. Into their 30s, Preuss and her friends continue to have a blast while going on thong-buying trips, having drinks, and giggling about men’s shortcomings. Overall, the author hits the mark with her lighthearted tone and self-deprecating asides, as in her explanation for a quick dabble in controlled substances: “I judge others for smoking weed, but I don’t hesitate in trying my son’s prescription pills. I have no defense other than I’m an ass.” A pleasant remembrance and an easygoing beach read. --Kirkus Review
“This girlfriends memoir brought me into a familiar world of friendship and reality; so loving and real that I kept wanting more in every chapter.” —Jennifer Prince
“It’s a celebration of friendship and an honest look at the closeness of the female connection. When I finished reading and put the book down, I had that moment where I realized I was going to miss these girls.” —Paige Nolan
At first, the book seemed to have a slow start. Though, I kept reading because it was making me laugh. Memoirs are not typically my thing for reading, though, as a writer myself I have tried to write one myself. It is no easy task, and I still have not succeeded. This memoir was brilliantly done, and I was both laughing and crying throughout. It was so real and yet did not bore me at all. It was brilliantly organized and told, making you wish that you knew these people and were your friends. Every grown woman should read this. I fell in love, and I hope there are more in the future. --I. Sweetwater
Even though it is her debut novel, Jennifer definitely knows how to grab our hearts from page one! This story is a special one because it revolves around her life and her experience with friendship. To be honest, I did know this book was going to be quite fun from the beginning but the crazy adventures and the realness of the story blew me away.
Pros: Jen’s life is anything other than boring! So expect a lot of twists and turns in this book, aptly confirming the saying that “Life is a roller coaster”. It is an honest memoir: hilarious and fun but at times, heartbreaking. It is a story of love and loss and the bonds of true friendship that never breaks but only tightens over the years.
Cons: Honestly, I found none but I do think the book should have been longer because I wanted to read more about Jen and the adventures she had with Cecelia, Nikki, Panooch and her family.
Conclusion: I have recently realised that any books that start with Kelly Clarkson’s song’s name is a really good summer read and is always on my favourites shelf *cough* Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson *cough*. Addictive like a pack of spicy potato wafers during a late evening with friends, this book is a must read and I assure you that it would be one of your favorites too. --M Suresh