Best Friends Forever
by Jennifer Weiner
Fifteen years ago, Addie’s best friend Valerie betrayed her, making her their high school’s pariah and scarring her for life. Although she’s fashioned a life for herself, painting greeting card images in the house her parents left her, Addie’s life is routine and sheltered and closed off from the rest of the world. But her quiet world is turned upside-down after Valerie shows up on her doorstep, terrified that she killed one of their old classmates at the high school reunion, and asking her old friend for help. Lonely and a little frustrated with how her life has turned out, Addie agrees, and the two set off on a road trip full of humor, warmth and the joy of rekindling a long-lost friendship.
After a conversation with kiri_l in my Fireworks Over Toccoa review, I felt like I should read some chick lit. I often bag on the genre but I really haven’t read much of it. Jennifer Weiner’s name comes up a lot in discussions of the chick lit/women’s fiction. I’m trying to think what I knew about her, prior to getting one of her books, but the only thoughts that come to mind are:
1/ Jennifer Weiner is a chick lit author
2/ Jennifer Weiner writes about fat chicks
I’m not sure at what point/how I picked up the second fact, but Addie in Best Friends Forever was overweight or obese for most of her life, so it seems to be somewhat true. This also made the two thin women on the cover seem a bit disingenuous. (I’m bagging on cover art a lot lately.) I guess the jacket designer thought larger women wouldn’t sell books?
The big question for me, at the end of the book, was why Addie would forgive Valerie so readily for her cruelty in high school. I mean (spoiler alert) Valerie was raped, Addie found out and told her parents, and then Valerie claimed Addie lied, and everyone at their school treated Addie like crap for the rest of the year. When Valerie reappears, it’s only because she wants Addie to help get her out of trouble again. Addie is lonely, to be sure, but even fifteen years of solitude would not be enough for me to forgive someone so quickly.
Weiner’s descriptive prose made it easy to imagine the characters and their adventures, but the plot itself was predictable and rather cheesy. I was bored much of the time. When Weiner brought in a third male protagonist and potential romantic interest, it wasn’t enough to revive the story.
It’s a sleepy, easy beach read. If you like Hallmark channel movies, I feel like this book would be right up your alley.