Friends for Life

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
A sitcom already bought for the big screen by Nora Ephron, Wolitzer's This Is Your Life novel about three young women on the make in New York City has some clever moments, but its foolish premise scuttles credibility. Friends since elementary school in the suburbs, Meredith Guzzi, Lisa Vopilska and Ann Rogoff are now living in Manhattan, where they meet for dinner at a Chinese restaurant every month. Ann, who went to Yale and has a low-paying job in a publishing house, and Meredith, a knock-out-gorgeous public TV commentator, hate each other and always have. Medical student Lisa is the buffer and mediator who keeps the group together. In the course of the episodic narrative, Lisa marries a dermatologist and has a baby, Meredith breaks up with her vain, famous, married lover but finally finds a Mr. Right as beautiful as she is, and Ann discovers that she is a lesbian. These events are accomplished with some snappy dialogue and nicely captured trendy detail: a visit to a condom boutique; the perils of making love in a loft bed; the craze for work-out machines. But the women in this sisterhood are shallow, silly and superficial, given to such pronouncements as ``Marriage is a curtain that drops down between you and your friends. It separates you forever.'' Mar.
Library Journal
Three young girls innocently vow to stay friends forever, unaware of how difficult that vow is to keep. As they approach ``thirtysomething,'' discontent over their lives--especially their love lives--grows. Meredith, the beautiful one, is having an affair with a married man. Lisa, the nice one, is a good doctor but a confused wife and mother. Ann, the smart one, becomes an enthusiastic lesbian. When their friendship is temporarily shattered, each woman has time to reflect on her emotional needs. This pleasant tale, yet another entry in the women's friendship novel category, captures the sense of loss and discovery in female friendships. Wolitzer's novel This Is Your Life (Crown, 1989) was made into a successful movie, which may generate interest in this new work. Recommended for public libraries and women's studies collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/1/93.-- Jan Blodgett, St. Mary's Cty. Records Ctr. & Archives, Leonardtown, Md.
Donna Seaman
Wolitzer, author of "Hidden Pictures" (1986), is a warm, brisk, and extremely funny novelist. Her light touch eschews pretension or false piety, enabling her to write about emotionally charged issues with insight and sophistication. Here, she portrays three Manhattan women on the verge of 30 who have managed to remain close friends through their school years and into adulthood. Meredith is an ambitious media beauty, Lisa is a doctor, and Ann works in publishing. All three are unattached as the novel begins, but soon form alliances that threaten their closeness. As they discuss the pleasure, ambivalence, and risk of their sexual relationships, Wolitzer (who, by the way, writes savvy dialogue that begs for performance) delivers some scathing observations on gender roles. Finally, each woman pairs off: Lisa marries a dermatologist, Ann falls in love with another woman, and Meredith finally gets involved with a man who takes her seriously. While this plot is little more than adequate, Wolitzer repeatedly rises above predictability, crafting scenes that sparkle with wit and glow with the relief of being able to laugh at the ridiculousness of life.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780821750377
  • Publisher: Kensington Publishing Corporation
  • Publication date: 8/1/1995
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: REPRINT
  • Product dimensions: 4.20 (w) x 6.85 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Meet the Author

Meg Wolitzer

Meg Wolitzer's novels include The Wife, The Position, and the New York Times bestsellers The Ten-Year Nap and The Interestings. She lives in New York City.

Meg Wolitzer is the author of eight previous novels, including The Ten-Year Nap, The Position, and The Wife. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize. She lives in New York City.


Meg Wolitzer grew up around books. Her mother, Hilma Wolitzer, published two novels while Meg was still in school, and weekly trips to the library were a ritual the entire family looked forward to. Not surprisingly, Meg served as editor for her junior high and high school literary magazines. She graduated from Brown University in 1981. One year later, she published her debut novel, Sleepwalking, the story of three college girls bonded by an unhealthy fascination with suicidal women poets. It marked the beginning of a successful writing career that shows no sign of slacking.

Over the years, Wolitzer has proven herself a deft chronicler of intense, unconventional relationships, especially among women. She has explored with wit and sensitivity the dynamics of fractured families (This Is Your Life, The Position); the devastating effects of death (Surrender, Dorothy), the challenges of friendship (Friends for Life), and the prospective minefield of gender, identity, and dashed expectations (Hidden Pictures, The Wife, The Ten-Year Nap).

In addition to her bestselling novels, Wolitzer has written a number of screenplays. Her short fiction has appeared in The Best American Short Stories and The Pushcart Prize, and she has also taught writing at the University of Iowa Writers' Workshop and at Skidmore College.

Good To Know

In our exclusive interview, Wolitzer shared some fun and fascinating facts about herself:

"First of all, I am obsessed with playing Scrabble. It relaxes me between fits of writing, and I play online, in a bizarro world of anonymous, competitive players. It's my version of smoking or drinking -- a guilty pleasure. The thing is, I love words, anagrams, wordplay, cryptic crossword puzzles, and anything to do with the language."

"I also love children's books, and feel a great deal of nostalgia for some of them from my own childhood (Harriet the Spy and The Phantom Tollbooth among others) as well as from my children's current lives. I have an idea for a kids' book that I might do someday, though right now my writing schedule is full up."

"Humor is very important to me in life and work. I take pleasure from laughing at movies, and crying at books, and sometimes vice versa. I also have recently learned that I like performing. I think that writers shouldn't get up at a reading and give a dull, chant-like reading from their book. They should perform; they should do what they need to do to keep readers really listening. I've lately had the opportunity to do some performing on public radio, as well as singing with a singer I admire, Suzzy Roche, formerly of the Roches, a great group that started in 1979. Being onstage provides a dose of gratification that most writers never get to experience."

"But mostly, writing a powerful novel -- whether funny or serious, or of course both -- is my primary goal. When I hear that readers have been affected by something I've written, it's a relief. I finally have come to no longer fear that I'm going to have to go to law school someday...."

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    1. Hometown:
      New York, New York
    1. Date of Birth:
      May 28, 1959
    2. Place of Birth:
      Brooklyn, New York
    1. Education:
      B.A., Brown University, 1981
    2. Website:

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 17, 2001


    This was a good book. Since i have two best friends to start of with, its real easy to understand. I recommend this to anyone who has close friends, they can truly realate to. Also the characters in the story are just so attachable to. Was a great read!

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