The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship
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The instant New York Times bestseller, now in paperback: a moving tribute to female friendships, with the inspiring story of eleven girls and the ten women they became, from the coauthor of the million-copy bestseller The Last Lecture
As children, they formed a special bond, growing up in the small town of Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eighth different states, yet they managed to maintain an extraordinary friendship that would carry them through college and careers, marriage and motherhood, dating and divorce, the death of a child, and the mysterious death of the eleventh member of their group. Capturing their remarkable story, The Girls from Ames is a testament to the enduring, deep bonds of women as they experience life's challenges, and the power of friendship to overcome even the most daunting odds.
The girls, now in their forties, have a lifetime of memories in common, some evocative of their generation and some that will resonate with any woman who has ever had a friend. The Girls from Ames demonstrates how close female relationships can shape every aspect of women's lives-their sense of themselves, their choice of men, their need for validation, their relationships with their mothers, their dreams for their daughters-and reveals how such friendships thrive, rewarding those who have committed to them. With both universal events and deeply personal moments, it's a book that every woman will relate to and be inspired by.
of you may be dead. You have to expect that. Because that’s just how life works.” Today, Jenny and her dad both have a vivid recollection of that conversation—where they were sitting, how her dad’s words hung in the air, in the darkness, and how she sat there thinking he had to be wrong. 2 Marilyn Marilyn has her camera out, and she’s walking around, snapping away. She has decided to be an unofficial photographer for the reunion at Angela’s. It’s a role that suits her. She’s able to be
Kelly,” she says, taking her by the hand. “It’s time to get some sleep.” 4 Sheila On the second morning of the reunion, Jenny opens her suitcase and pulls out a shopping bag filled with old photos and letters, neatly tied in ribbons to differentiate each decade. There’s one photo in particular that she can’t wait to show the other girls. She came upon it a few nights earlier in a closet at her home in Maryland, and at first, she was completely confused. It’s a five-by-seven portrait of
they can weigh in on the photos of him attached to his email. But back when Sheila was young, she didn’t even have access to a photocopy machine at her parents’ lake house, so she’d mail Jenny the actual original notes she received from boys. “No one has turned me on as much as you,” scribbled a boy named Tom. “I guess it’s a combination of things did it. You’re super looking. You’ve got an excellent body!!!! And the best part is your personality!” His two-page letter was littered with
that ever happened to Greg, but he ignored her,” recalls one of his friends, Steele Campbell. “She was going somewhere. She was great looking, she was fun, she had a head on her shoulders. We all thought: ‘What’s Greg thinking?’ ” Sheila confided to Karla and Jenny: “I love him so much, but he’s just so frustrating.” Given her relationship with Kurt, Karla could empathize. But both she and Sheila soldiered on, smiling, and waiting for their guys to get it together. In large measure because of
store manager, who was stunned and apologetic. The manager vowed to mount a full investigation of his entire bakery staff. If there were fingerprints on the brown frosting container, he’d find them. The girls knew, of course, that some people didn’t like their little clique. Several times, Jenny’s car wouldn’t start because other kids had put sugar in her gas tank. Some of the girls’ houses got egged by male classmates angry at them for dating those boys from nearby Marshalltown. And once “Shit