By: Jane Green
Published Year: 2019
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion of this book.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): Evvie, Maggie, and Topher have known each other since university. Their friendship was something they swore would last forever. Now years have passed, the friends have drifted apart, and none of them ever found the lives they wanted – the lives they dreamed of when they were young and everything seemed possible.
Evvie starved herself to become a supermodel but derailed her career by sleeping with a married man.
Maggie married Ben, the boy she fell in love with at university, never imagining the heartbreak his drinking would cause.
Topher became a successful actor but the shame of a childhood secret shut him off from real intimacy.
By their thirtieth reunion, these old friends have lost touch with each other and with the people they dreamed of becoming. Together again, they have a second chance at happiness… until a dark secret is revealed that changes everything.
The Friends We Keep is about how despite disappointments we’ve had or mistakes we’ve made, it's never too late to find a place to call home.
When I was in college I loved Jane Green. The first book I read of hers, Mr. Maybe, sparked a love of her writing and I proceeded to go through her works at the local library. However, I have not read anything of hers in recent years. Not for any specific reason, just that I’ve been reading other things. When I was offered this book to review I freaked out. I could not believe that one of her books came my way to review. Also, this cover just screams summer.
What I thought
If you love good stories about friendships, you don’t even need to read the rest of this review. Just pick up this book and you will thank me.
Evvie, Maggie and Topher met at university. This story follows them from the time that they meet, through the next 30 years of their lives. There are times when they are the closest of friends, and times where their lives drift apart. When they do finally get together for the first time in 30 years, will their friendship be the same as it was all those years ago? Or will life and mistakes change their relationships forever?
The story is written from alternating perspectives between Evvie, Maggie, and Topher. It is also told in 3 parts. Part 1 is during the college years, part 2 is the in between years from post-graduation to the present, and then Part 3 is present day. Evvie is part-Jamaican and part-America. She and her mother have moved back to London to live with her grandmother after her mom left her dad. As a result, she decides she loves England and wants to go to university there before becoming a model or continuing her life as an actress. Maggie is born and bred British. Her family is a bit posh and she is the only girl with 3 brothers. Topher is also part-American and part-British but is a self-proclaimed Anglophile. He is also kind of asexual but also gay.
I absolutely loved the style in which this was written. I loved going on their life journeys with the characters and felt like I got to know them so well and became one of their friends. It was great to grow up with the characters and I think because of the way that it’s written, it allows the reader to become close to the characters and be more understanding of their mistakes and flaws. Evvie, most obviously, makes the biggest mistake, yet I couldn’t hate her for it. I understood what happened because I saw it through her eyes, and even though I didn’t agree with what she did, I felt like I could ultimately forgive her for her transgressions because she was one of my close friends.
I also appreciated that there was a male part of this friend group. So often these types of stories occur with three females, and I liked the perspective of Toper. I also really liked his storyline. At times he felt very separate from Maggie and Evvie, whose stories intertwine a bit more, but I was always happy to make it back to Topher’s perspective and never felt like he was disconnected or that his part could’ve been cut out.
It’s funny because I look back at the story and I don’t think it’s a groundbreaking story with events that are completely unpredictable or that I’ve never read before, but it’s done in such a unique way that it makes it different than other similar stories that I have read. Plus, the writing is just so well done. I forgot how much I loved Green’s writing and storytelling, and I want to go back and pick up her books that I have missed over the past few years.