Friends Like These: My Worldwide Quest to Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock on Their Doors, and Ask Them to Come Out and Play

Friends Like These: My Worldwide Quest to Find My Best Childhood Friends, Knock on Their Doors, and Ask Them to Come Out and Play

by Danny Wallace
     
 

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Danny Wallace has friends. He has a wife and goes to brunch, and his new house has a couch with throw pillows. But as he nears 30, he can't help wondering about his best childhood friends, whose names he finds in a long-forgotten address book. Where are they now-and where, really, is he?

Acting on an impulse we've all had at least once, he travels from London to

Overview

Danny Wallace has friends. He has a wife and goes to brunch, and his new house has a couch with throw pillows. But as he nears 30, he can't help wondering about his best childhood friends, whose names he finds in a long-forgotten address book. Where are they now-and where, really, is he?

Acting on an impulse we've all had at least once, he travels from London to Berlin, Tokyo, Australia, and California, risking rejection and ridicule to show up on his old pals' doorsteps. Memories of his 1980s childhood-from Michael Jackson to Ghostbusters-overwhelm him as he meets former buddies who have blossomed into rappers and ninjas, time-traveling pioneers, mediocre restaurant managers, and even Fijian royalty.

Danny's attempt to re-befriend them all gives remarkable new resonance to the age-old mantra, "friends forever!"

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In his latest, British humorist and TV personality Wallace (Yes Man) takes readers along on his quarter-life crisis quest to reconnect with childhood friends. Just months from his 30th birthday, Wallace found that "the evidence of impending adulthood" was all around him: he and his wife were eating healthy food, patronizing trendy bars rather than the neighborhood pub, and renovating their London home. When his parents send him a box of childhood mementos, Wallace gets the idea to locate as many childhood friends as he can before his next birthday. Traveling across the United Kingdom, out to Japan and elsewhere (even entertaining a trip to Fiji for one former school buddy), Wallace rediscovers shared memories, creates new tales and fulfills old dreams (including seeing a live Michael Jackson concert). By juxtaposing verbal snapshots of his childhood with his adult life and those of his friends, Wallace presents an entertaining (if somewhat shallow) look at the lives of a reluctantly maturing generation; fans of Gen-X and Gen-Y culture writers like Chuck Klosterman should find their overseas counterparts eminently relatable.
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Library Journal
Approaching 30, Wallace (Yes Man; Join Me) wondered how he had become a man with throw pillows on his sofa and a social calendar that includes brunch. An old address book inspired him to go on a quest to find his 12 best friends from childhood to see how each is coping with turning 30 and to acknowledge the ways those friends influenced him. The resulting memoir, though a bit slow in the beginning, is a touching and often humorous look at how social networking and a willingness to travel can help long-lost friends reconnect. Wallace and the friends with whom he'd lost touch share memories of Michael Jackson, the Back to the Future trilogy, Ghostbusters, and the occasional practical joke. His narrative is a reminder of the importance of childhood memories. VERDICT Reminiscent of Nick Hornby's High Fidelity, this memoir should appeal to male readers of a certain age and to anyone who has gotten hooked on networking web sites. [Film rights have been sold to Miramax.—Ed.]—Pam Kingsbury, Univ. of North Alabama, Florence
Kirkus Reviews
A British writer and broadcaster turns the familiar angst of approaching age 30 into a diverting adventure. Wallace, whose previous book (Yes Man, 2005, etc.) inspired the recent Jim Carrey movie, recounts his summer-long attempt to find a dozen old school friends to see how they were faring as they were leaving their 20s. Prompted by the lawnmowers, lattes and other "evidence of impending adulthood" encountered after his move from the East End to upscale North London, the author used an old address book and the Internet to track down and visit long-lost buddies in Los Angeles, Melbourne, Berlin, Tokyo and London. Though the narrative is sometimes overblown and meandering, Wallace has an upbeat style and an eye for bright anecdotes as he writes about others in his Generation X group who grew up in Scotland and the Midlands, enamored of video games, Michael Jackson and Back to the Future. There is Anil Tailor, now an architect, with whom the author once sat reading comics under "the magic tree"; Cameron Dewa, a London IT specialist and third in line to the throne of Fiji; and Akira Matsui, a Japanese medical doctor who jokes about the day a mutual childhood friend did the crane kick from The Karate Kid on his head. Along with a Berlin rapper, a British restaurant manager who has mastered time travel and others, his friends are finding their way, beginning marriages and careers, and react with delight at Wallace's often-surprise visit. When not describing aspects of his search, the author recalls hilarious bygone moments, from playing phone pranks to delivering newspapers to a Mr. Shitler. "I'm a child!" he tells his patient wife, Lizzie, who agrees to his sojourn in return for his doinghousehold chores. But all is not lighthearted-one old friend, he learns, died at 18. Reflecting on his rite-of-passage travels, Wallace concludes, "Yeah, we all grow up. We all get busy. But we all need friends."Great fun, especially for anyone facing the Big 3-0.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316042772
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
09/02/2009
Pages:
416
Product dimensions:
5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.40(d)

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Meet the Author

Danny Wallace is the author of The Yes Man, now a film starring Jim Carrey. He has hosted various television shows and starred in BBC documentaries. Currently, he has a weekly radio show on XFM in London, and three of his books have been bestsellers in the UK.

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