Top Ten Tuesday because the topic is "Books About Friendship." While I was perusing potential candidates for this list, I found a lot of great books that are so very different from each other, but all of which hinge on one type of friendship or another. It's amazing to think about all the sorts of friendships that exist, and I think my list this week has a pretty interesting cross-section of them, and I'd be lying if I said that I designed it that way.
1. Truth and Beauty by Ann Patchett - Ann Patchett is one of my favorite authors, and I always surprise myself when I think about her work and come up with this memoir of her friendship with Lucy Grealy as one of my very favorites. I think this book appeals to me so much because Patchett is the steady, dependable friend in the relationship, and that's me in most of my relationships. It's obvious she loved her friend, but she doesn't skirt around the more difficult aspects of their time together.
2. Brewster by Mark Slouka - Possibly the most powerful portrait of a friendship I've ever read. It's a great coming of age story, too. The two main characters in Brewster step up to be each other's family when real family fails them. It's a powerful picture of what it is to read between the lines to figure out what a friend really needs and stopping at nothing to protect them.
3. Molly Fox's Birthday by Deirdre Madden - This is one of those day in the life sort of books, and Madden's narrator spends a midsummer day staying at a friend's house in her friend's absence and ruminating about the impacts her two best friends have had on her life and each other's. And it's a much, much more interesting read than I just made it sound like...
4. Fat Kid Rules the World by K.L. Going - Troy, the fat kid in question, is contemplating suicide when he makes friends with a budding rock star who's got some problems of his own. Curt's a little bit larger than life, and drumming for Curt's band gives Troy a reason to be, but, turns out, Troy's not the only one who needs a little help. Fat Kid Rules the World is a great story about two unlikely friends who turn out to be made for each other.
5. Last Days of Summer by Steve Kluger - Told completely in letters, Last Days of Summer is a mostly hilarious and briefly heartbreaking story of a mouthy kid who starts writing letters to the hot-headed up-and-coming star of the New York Giants. What starts as mail harassment soon turns into a memorable friendship. I love this book. Just thinking about it makes me want to read it again.
6. Feeling Sorry for Celia by Jaclyn Moriarty - The main character in this one is missing her flaky friend who fled normal life to join the circus. This is the sort of friendship where you understand why your friend is doing the crazy things they're doing, but you're also kind of bummed that they're always leaving you in the lurch.
7. Gossip by Beth Gutcheon - This book hinges on a narrator whose two best friends became each other's sworn enemies over some long past trivial slight. The ripples of their mutual loathing are far-reaching, and it's an interesting look into the delicate balancing act that ensues when the people you love best in the world don't even like each other.
8. The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clayton - Then there are the "group of friends" books. I kind of expected this story about a group of women who bond when they form a writing group during the 1960s to be kind of fluffy. Instead, it's a an intriguing story about women "coming of age" all over again, in a decade when the world is opening up for them in ways never before experienced.
9. Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister - Another great book with a group of friends. One friend is facing a fight with cancer and inspires her group of friends to dare each other to do one fearless thing that will open up their lives to new possibilities. What's great is following each friend through her assigned task, which may at first seem pretty innocuous, but turns out revealing each character's struggles and also the depth of their relationships with each other.
10. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Patterson - Bridge to Terabithia is practically a classic. You pretty much haven't lived until you've explored Jess and Leslie's imaginary kingdom and cried bucketloads of tears over a kid losing a best friend.
Turns out I really love lots of books that explore friendships. What's your favorite?