The more I venture into this world of writing fiction, the more I want to read fiction. I’ve been a book-worm since I was a small child, reading while we waited for food in a restaurant or in the backseat on a road trip. So, I took the opportunity to relive my childhood a couple of weeks ago and cracked open Jennifer Weiner’s Best Friends Forever in the back of my mother’s Ford Expedition as she carted us (begrudgingly) back from a family trip to my parent’s beach house.
I nearly finished the book in the eight hours I was trapped in the car, but I didn’t quite make it and had to save the last fifty pages until last night. I lit a couple of candles, turned on my bedside lamp and crawled into bed, anxious to find out what would become of Addie Downs and Valerie Adler.
Addie and Val had been best friends as children. Addie was shy, quiet and virtually friendless when Val moved to town. She was mesmerized by Val and her single mother, especially how Val didn’t seem to care what anyone else thought of her. Painfully aware of her own awkwardness, Addie faded into the woodwork as outgoing Val blossomed in high school. When their friendship is brought to a shattering end just before graduation, they both go on to lead very different lives.
Fifteen years later, on the night of their high school reunion, Val shows up on Addie’s doorstep, blood splattered on her coat. Addie is reluctant at first, but Val charms here just as she did the first day they met. Practical and routine Addie soon finds herself searching for a dead body and then fleeing town with Val.
I’ve read other reviews that describe their story as reminiscent of Thelma and Louise, but with a different ending. It’s a great way to describe the hilarious and somewhat misguided adventure of these two loveable ladies.
Two very different characters, Addie and Val are equally loveable. Addie still sees herself as the self-conscious fat kid, although she’s curbed the years of emotional eating and embraced an exercise routine. She’s forgiving, loyal and completely oblivious to the fabulous person she has become.
Meanwhile, Val is slightly self-obsessed, but equally insecure on the inside. She’s impetuous and a tad crazy, completely unconcerned with committing more crimes to cover up the one she’s afraid she’s already perpetrated. The two are the perfect balance for each other, and it’s easy to see why they were such good friends as children – and why they must be again.
The best line of the entire book is delivered by Addie and targeted at Val after referencing a ridiculous on-air stunt Val completed as part of her job as a weathergirl: “I’m going to suggest that the dignity ship has sailed without you aboard.” I’m totally stashing that line away for later use!
Don’t think Weiner forgot to include a love interest for main character, Addie. He’s wonderfully imperfect as well. I was very impressed with how well Weiner captured the male mindset with Jordan. At least it was how I think a man would think!
If you’re looking for a good read, I highly recommend Best Friends Forever. Weiner’s characters have a quick wit and are instantly engaging. One minute your heartstrings are being tugged by Addie and her painful self-image, then the next you’re rolling your eyes and laughing hysterically as Val tries to rob a bank.
You’ll get so hooked on these characters that you’ll wish you could take them out and grab a drink together!