Yes, I am woman (female) hear me roar!
And yet as far back as I can recall in being a female, which meant cultivating female friendships, because what girl or woman doesn’t want to have friends. Yet, these friendships for all the good and wonderful times shared, also came fraught with all the necessary female drama still, too.
From as far back as I can remember, when one of my childhood friends decided in third grade that she no longer wanted to be my friend and resorted to not only making new friends, leaving me behind, but also making me feel a deep loss for that friendship, I was a victim of the ‘Other Ex’ syndrome.
Then in high school, my very good friend, decided that she enjoyed the company of my then boyfriend at the time over mine and another friendship was down the tubes, as I shared here.
I had a few college friendships that also just fizzled out as we grew up and apart. And even in recent years, I have had some not so nice, but catty issues with grown women, as I wrote all about here.
So, when I was sent this teaser:
“There can be so much good, so much power, so much love, in female friendships. But there is also a dark side of pain and loss. And surrounding that dark side, there is often silence. Women feel that there is no language to talk about their feelings. There is shame, the haunting feeling that the loss of a friendship is a reflection of our own worth or capacity to be loved. My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends is a step toward breaking that silence. The brave writers in this engrossing, diverse collection of 35 essays tell their own unique stories of failed friendships and remind us of the universality of loss.”
– from the editors Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger on behalf of The HerStories Project about My Other Ex
for the latest book from The HerStories Project called, “My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Losing and Leaving Friends“, I not only jumped at the opportunity to review, but immediately began to read once I got my downloaded copy.
My Other Ex:
Right away, I found the book (separated into five main sections) to be so very compelling and want to share a few of my favorite essays with you now, too.
The first section was aptly named, “When We Were Young”. One of my favorites from this section was Allison Carter’s (from Go Dankser Mom, “Holding Hands with the Villain,” in which she shares of a friendship from when she was indeed younger that was not only tumultuous as they come, but also had a very bad breakup in the end when she no longer felt they were not meant to be friends any longer. Trust me, this one definitely had drama and felt for both Allison and her friend from the past once I concluded her essay.Allison Carter’s (from Go Dankser Mom, “Holding Hands with the Villain”
The second section dealt with being all grown up, aptly titled, “When We Were Grown Up” and the third section delved even further adult friendships in “Motherhood“, such as those you have now that you are indeed a mother and no longer just you. I have had my fair share of friendships as a mother myself over the last five years and definitely read this section feeling quite an affinity for each of the essays shared here.
Yet by the fourth section, I was even more pleasantly surprised by the topic of female friendship, “Reconciliations,” especially from Alison Lee (of Writing, Wishing), where the story started on such a negative first line, such as “Have a good life.”, but then delved into not only what caused the rift and cracks in their once blossoming internet friendship, but also just how these two women were able to indeed achieve forgiveness in the end. I must admit that in this day and age of social and internet connections across the board, I truly enjoyed and found myself rooting for their friendship by the way.Alison Lee (of Writing, Wishing) – “Have a good life.”
And if I was rooting for their friendship to indeed work out in the end, I was definitely pleasantly surprised to see another wonderfully expressed friendship reconciliation with Alyson Herzig’s (The Shitastrophy), Sometimes It is Your Children That Teach You. I couldn’t help but smile learning that she learned a valuable lesson from her daughter, who helped bridge the gap to have her mom and her friend’s mom find their way back to their friendship.
Last, but not last was the perfect ribbon around this beautiful package of a book with section five in which, Stephanie Sprenger (one of the editors and also co-founder of The HerStories Project, “What We Have Learned,” where she explained quite simply that women’s friendships and relationships are indeed complex and very rarely black and white.
And as I shared a bit earlier from my own experiences with female friendships over the years, I just couldn’t help, but feel more connected with this reflection from Stephanie, but that didn’t surprise me for not only do my past friendships and all the ups and downs that have come from them, too.
But also because I have read and followed Stephanie’s personal blog here for a few years now, having grown to know and love her as a friend myself and even have felt a connection, as a women and mom, too. So, her own shared story only made me feel even more connected to not only Stephanie, but also with most, if not many of these beautifully written and shared essays.
I also want to say a huge thank you to Stephanie and Jessica, as well as ALL the amazing and talented ladies of My Other Ex for indeed sharing and putting your words out there for all (including myself) to read.
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Robin (Masshole Mommy) says
This sounds like a book that I definitely want to read!!
I can’t wait to read this book. Lisa and I have both experienced some friendship losses in our adulthood that were very painful, so this is the perfect book for us. So proud of all the contributors here! :)-Ashley
Ginny Marie says
There are so many great writers in this book, and I truly think it is one that so many women can relate to! I know I can!
sounds like a book I should read!
Janine, thank you so much for your sweet words, and beautiful review. This book, I can’t even. I’m just so proud of Jessica and Stephanie, and all the 34 other writers I have the honor of walking alongside. I’m so glad you liked my essay!
Kristi Campbell says
It really is an incredible book. I seriously couldn’t put it down. Great review, Janine! I’m still thinking about my past friendship breakups after reading it.
Janine, I hope you have a great Friday, and then it’s time for the WEEKEND….have fun my friend.
I’ve seen several reviews of this book this week and I”m looking forward to reading it!!!
Diane Roark says
It sounds like all women can relate to this book. I cannot wait to go check out Stephanie’s blog. Thanks so very much for sharing!
Have a great weekend!
another jennifer says
Thanks for sharing some of the stories, Janine. This looks like a good one!
It does sound good! And ugh on the female friendship thing. I had a gal who lived down the road who was my bestie for years. One day she dumped me for another bestie. I remember going to the park, being excited to see her, and her and the other girl were just talking about me, and wanted nothing to do w/me. No explanation, just gone. That was grade school. When I got grown and had kids of my own, and visited my hometown. I saw her in the grocery store. For some reason I was happy and said hello and she acted like she didn’t know me. As an adult, lol. So silly. -_- I never knew what I did wrong and your post made me think of it, so it must have been pretty profound at chinking the heart armor. Guess it was good for me to learn so early that people/relationships are not always going to stay the same. 🙂
Eh, it was a long time ago now. 😉 I would like to read the book though. 🙂
I am really looking forward to reading this book! Female friendship, and the loss of it, can be so difficult. I don’t think I know anyone who hasn’t gone through it.
This is on my Amazon wishlist. I think I want to be in a Herstories book when I grow up. A girl can dream, right?
I had a close friend in 9th grade who decided she wanted the “love of my life.”
Ultimately I decided neither of them were for me.
This sounds like a fabulous book! I loved the teaser and then hearing your feedback has me sold!
Aunt Gloria says
Nicely done Janine. Sounds like a book I’d like to read. xxxxxooooo Happy weekend. Hope you get your iPhone 6 soon.
Aunt Gloria says
Had a nice time at Jordan and Shelby’s wedding Sat. and rested today (Sunday). Happy Monday! xxoo
Stephanie @ Life, Unexpectedly says
This project sounds so cool! I’m lucky enough that I have my best friend since 8th grade. We may lead very different lives, we may not see each other often, but we are always there for each other. But I have also lost my share of friends, which in hindsight where never true friends to begin with. Have a great weekend, Janine!
It was such a powerful book, wasn’t it? So many of us have similar friendship experiences.
I remember my grade school days when my friends and I had to ask permission from each other to be each other’s best friends. That was quite funny and childish.. and was also understandable because we were still kids. LOL. But as we grow, our friendships become really stronger. Friends really back us up every time. Female friendships in general tend to be more emotional too.. 🙂
I’ve been getting around to all of your blogs and I see that this book really is a good read! I think it may make me cry so much though. Female friendships is such a sensitive area for me. I’ve gotten better at accepting that many of the friendships are seasonal and I just have to deal with that, but I guess I can’t get that notion out of my mind that there could be one or two that could be lifelong and around forever like my hubby..
I love books that are collections of essays – and this is a great subject to cover. I still remember how it felt to get “dumped” by my high school best friend. And to this day I still don’t really understand what happened. I will have a look for this.
Seana Turner says
This is a surprisingly under-discussed topic. I’ve certainly had my fair share of struggles with female friends, especially in my young years. And my daughters had similar challenges… nothing like middle school – ugh! But I love the idea of reconciliations – I’ve seen that happen for me and my girls. It’s a wonderful thing!
Just included this in my must-read list!
Pure Grace Farms says
Thanks for taking the time to write this thoughtful review. I definitely can relate.
Stephanie @ Mommy, for Real. says
Janine! I was sick last week but read this on my phone and loved it! I’m finally feeling better and realized I hadn’t yet told you thank you and how much we appreciated your beautiful review. THANK you so much for all your support and kind words. xoxo
Rabia @TheLiebers says
It sounds like a great book. I submitted an essay, and while it wasn’t chosen, I’m still very glad I wrote it as it was very cleansing for me to go back through those emotions and see how far I’ve come.
The Pinterested Parent says
Reading this almost made me cry a little bit. I have lost & luckily reconciled with a couple of my best friends. Losing a female friend can be just as or even more painful than losing a lover. This sounds like an interesting read.
Lizzy - Muddle-Headed Mamma says
Thanks so much for sharing this, Janine. I’m going to purchase the book right now. I’m also really looking forward to reading your own friendship stories that you linked to in this post.