Review

Best Friends Forever

by Jennifer Weiner

As kids, Addie Downs and Valerie Adler become fast friends when
unconventional Valerie moves in across the street from mousy Addie.
Days and years pass in Jennifer Weiner’s BEST FRIENDS FOREVER
with the two side by side, eating casserole meals with
Addie’s family and taking road trips (dining on Tab and
French fries) with Valerie’s divorcee mom. They seem
inseparable, until Valerie does the unthinkable --- she blossoms
and starts to hang with the more popular crowd. Quiet Addie falls
to the wayside and becomes Valerie’s punching bag at
school.

The best friends go their separate ways. Addie gains weight,
loses both her parents, drops a few pounds, and finds herself
living alone and caring for her brother, who years before suffered
brain damage in a car accident. Lonely, she seeks romance,
unsuccessfully, on the Internet. Tall, slender Valerie, on the
other hand, has become a weathergirl on the local TV station and is
considered somewhat of a homegrown celebrity. A high school reunion
brings her back to town on the night of one of Addie’s dates
gone wrong (let’s just say the guy believed he had been
abducted by aliens). A knock on the door, and there stands the
estranged Valerie, wearing blood-stained clothes, reminding Addie
of their long-lost friendship, and begging her for help.

What ensues is a mystery of sorts, but the mystery is second to
the gal-palship that is reunited in BEST FRIENDS FOREVER. Weiner
does two things very well, and they are here in abundance. First,
she knows women: their insecurities (about men, about weight, about
anything) and their relationships (with men, with women, with
food). Second, she knows humor, and how to apply it to women
and their insecurities (about men, about weight, about anything)
and their relationships (with men, with women, with food).

The novel is replete with Weiner’s tell-tale self-effacing
humor, this time aimed at two endearing women whose friendship
rivals that of Thelma and Louise --- even if Addie does remind
Valerie at one point that they are not the infamous film duo. True
to her writing history to date, Weiner once again gives us real
women, likable in all their character flaws and reminiscent of the
women we know or are. (Addie and Valerie will remind you somewhat
of sisters Rose Feller, plump and insecure, and Maggie Feller, thin
and often oblivious, in Weiner’s popular IN HER SHOES.) The
flashbacks to Addie and Valerie’s childhood antics ---
painting bedrooms, clamming, convincing their parents to throw a
New Year’s Eve party for the neighbors (tuxedos encouraged)
--- brought back a flood of my own happy memories of girlhood
friendships. And I found myself smiling A LOT while following
Addie and Valerie’s friendship.

BEST FRIENDS FOREVER reminds us that we don’t always know
why things happen or why people feel the way they do. And it
reminds us that true friends, as cliché as it may sound, will
still be there 15 years later no matter what has happened.

Reviewed by Roberta O’Hara on December 22, 2010

Best Friends Forever
by Jennifer Weiner

  • Publication Date: July 14, 2009
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Atria
  • ISBN-10: 0743294297
  • ISBN-13: 9780743294294