Pros: depicts different time periods and stages of life. Personally written through letters and journals.
Cons: A little long at times and story told through specific view points.
"Between Friends" is the latest novel by Debbie Macomber that I have read.
This novel is written very different than her other novels. It is composed of letters, emails, notices, journal entries etc. As you read the different correspondences, you are drawn into the stories that are being told.
The novel starts off telling of two different births, in 1948, from women of different backgrounds. Barbara gives birth to a daughter, Jillian. Barbara is married to a lawyer and they have plenty of money to go around. They are able to provide ‘all the best’ for their daughter Jillian. Dorothy gives birth to a daughter, Lesley. She comes from a poor background and gets pregnant ‘accidently’. She marries the father of the child and tries to make the best of the situation.
Now the novel is based around these two girls growing up in Washington State, Lesley and Jillian. The two become best of friends and correspond regularly. The novel then goes through their lives, from early childhood up onto becoming grandparents. It begins with us reading about their parents corresponding and goes into their emailing each other as adults. The reader learns of all their mistakes and lessons learned with career choices, spouse choices, child raising and more.
The novel covers a time span from the late 40s until 2002. Many major events happen during this time that are mentioned. Some include Kennedy’s assassination, Vietnam War, and the terrorist attacks. There is some focus on political opinions of the time and where different generations may come to their point of view through the time which they lived in.
I wasn’t born until some 20+ years after the novel started off, so I found it interesting to see what life was like before my time.
Through these letters you learn of the mistakes that youth can make, as well as older adults make. One character I initially disliked, but grew to like as her character grew.
I actually felt kind of sad reading it and thinking about the passage of time. How time flies...There is some definite undertones that make you think of what is next and to live your life the best that you can.
I found the book enjoyable in the fact that this author does a wonderful job of capturing a women’s heart and thoughts. I liked the fact that it was easy to pick up and read as much as you wanted for that time frame that you had time to read in. (The book had different excerpts on anywhere from ½ page to a couple of pages.) The novel gave you a sense of different time periods and the struggles that go on with in that time period as well as within the different stages of life. I find that the book was relatable to me in ways that I had grown up, although my choices didn’t end up being quite the same. The book also felt like you were getting a glimpse into these characters personal life by reading their private thoughts shared. There was none of the descriptive writing that fills other books, so if you mostly just like dialogue, you’d probably love this book.
The only things that I found negative about the book, is that the points of view would change with another journal entry or letter being written. I often would need to look ahead to see who authored what to get the story straight in my mind. Although the author did try to put a heading before most entries as to who was mailing the letters. I found that as the book progressed, there were more and more characters. (Which happens in life.) But, I found it a bit confusing at times. I would put my book down one night and the next night I sometimes needed to go back and remember who that character was. I found at the beginning of the book, I was really enjoying it and it seemed to be moving right along. But, somewhere midstream the story started to slow up. It felt like there was something missing, or maybe time was jumping too much. I think perhaps with just reading letters and journals, you didn’t get to all the things that were happening and wanted more information that just wasn’t provided. I think that is a problem when writing in this type of form.
In any case, I enjoyed the book. I didn’t like it as much as some of the authors other books however and don’t think I would recommend it, as I only recommend my favorites. If you are a woman born in the late 40s, this book may be just for you.