I’ve realized over the years that I have a penchant for stories about women’s friendships. Perhaps part-ignited by paying attention to The Bechdel Test in pop culture, but also from my own history, my own friendships. I grew up in the military and as a teen often found myself in intense friendships with another girl, and then having to move away at the end of the year. I look back and think about these friendships occasionally, and wonder what might have happened if we had remained close, if I had lived the rest of my high school years in Kentucky or Virginia, and where we might be today if I had. Books about women’s friendships always stir at these feelings in me, thinking about what might’ve been, and the varying degrees of toxicity and camaraderie and love that were such powerful pillars of my adolescence.
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Toni Morrison£9.99 £9.29
I read this book earlier this year because I had heard there were a lot of similarities to Ferrante’s series in terms of the central friendship. I see the parallels, but was especially wowed (as always) by Morrison’s ability to tell this complex story in less than 200 pages. It, too, spans decades about two women. Sula and Nel grew up poor in the town of Medallion, Ohio, and one of them leaves only to return years later. The book is a portrait of Black women and American society; it’s damning and hypnotic.
Frances de Pontes Peebles£13.99 £13.01
A rapturous, heartbreaking book that captivated me as soon as I began. The Air You Breathe is the story of Dor and Graca, two girls who forge a friendship on a sugar cane plantation in 1930s Brazil—one an orphan who works in the kitchen, the other the daughter of the new plantation owner that moves in. Theirs is a complicated friendship, a complex love as they explore life, music, and fame together. Peebles writing is perfectly suited to the narrative—lyrical and tense.
Kayla Rae Whitaker£8.99 £8.36
This is my most recommended book of the last two years since I first read it. Mel Vaught and Sharon Kisses are animators in the male-dominated field; they team up and begin to make a name for themselves, together. I may have fallen in love with both of these characters, with their unique senses of self, and with their bond. It’s a book that the less you know about it, the better. I remember reading along, and then suddenly a twist happens near the beginning of the book, and then they don’t stop. I haven’t read anything quite like it; and I’d really LOVE more books about women working together creatively! Bonus: the audiobook and its narrator are excellent as well!
Toni Morrison£8.99 £8.36