Tag Archives: “The Girls from Ames” by Jeffrey Zaslow

Sisterhood

Well, it’s not Monday.  😦  What did I do last night to forget to blog?  Oh yeah, make food and clean the kitchen!  Visit with the Grimsrud family!  Worthy things…

Last week I met with my Fillmore Central book club at Los Gables in Fountain to discuss the Girls from Ames.  Most had similar reactions – not too interesting, slow, hard to keep track of the girls, etc.  I didn’t try to invest too much in the girls and found myself slightly irritated by some of them, although I did cry a few times, so had some investment in their lives.  But I did like reading about the importance of friendships for women.  I feel fortunate that I have a few “lifelong” friends.  I don’t see them often enough or talk often enough to some of them, but when we do talk there is an intimacy that is immediately brought back.

One of my goals for 2010 was to reconnect so I hope to be able to do that!  Creating that support network that keeps you young and healthy!  🙂

Who are your Satellite Sisters – the women that you connect with and who support you?

Off to read!

“The Girls from Ames” discussion questions *** Possible spoilers

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS

  1. At the end of his Introduction, author Jeffrey Zaslow repeats a question posed to him: “Could a man ever really understand women’s friendships?” How would you answer that question? Do you think Zaslow succeeded in his attempt to portray and explain the Ames girls’ long-lasting bonds?
  2. Also in the Introduction, Zaslow explains the basis of the Wall Street Journal column that gave birth to this book, saying, “The column focused on why women, more than men, have great urges to hold tightly onto old friends.” Do you agree that women stay closer to friends than men do? Why or why not?
  3. “E-mail has been a great gift to the Ames girls’ friendship, as it has to many other women’s friendships in recent years,” (page 76). Talk about how technology has changed friendships in the past decade or so. Are you in more regular or better touch with friends because of e-mail, texting, Facebook, Twitter, or IM? Have you formed new relationships—or, reignited dormant ones—as a result of social networking sites?
  4. Did you identify with one or more of the Ames girls, either in adolescence or adulthood? If so, what did you have in common with them?
  5. “Male friendships are often born on the athletic fields,” (page 54). What do you believe comprises male friendships? Do they form through activities like sports, or through something different? Do you know men who are part of a group much like the Ames girls’? If so, how does the male group differ from the female?
  6. Which of the Ames women do you think strayed farthest from her Midwestern upbringing, or defied the expectations of someone raised in her hometown?
  7. Cathy tries to explain the attachment between the women as one borne out of shared roots: “We root each other to the core of who we are, rather than what defines us as adults—by careers or spouses or kids. There’s a young girl in each of us who is still full of life,” (page 96). Do you think it’s common for people who were close childhood friends to maintain that bond in adulthood?
  8. “Researchers worry about this current generation of girls. Studies suggest that the average girl today is likely to grow up to be a lifelong dieter, to have a distorted body image, and to be emotionally scarred by cliques,” (page 114). How has adolescence changed from when you were young to what a teenager experiences today? Do you share the concern that the new generation of girls faces a tougher time than young women of bygone eras? What societal or cultural factors might account for this shift?
  9. In Chapter 10, Marilyn’s sister explains to her: “Men who’ve confided only in a spouse or a girlfriend can feel lost after a breakup or divorce, because they lose their only confidant. But for a woman with close female friends, the end of a romantic relationship is more bearable because they haven’t lost their entire support system,” (page 146). What do you think of this supposition? Can you think of examples in your own life that prove this statement to be true, or that dispute it?
  10. Talk about the mysterious death of Sheila, and years later the cancer that claimed the life of Karla’s young daughter. How did the Ames girls come together in each case? What are the ways in which having such a tight-knit network of friends helps people through crises like these? A broader question: When friends supplant family, is that a good or bad thing?
  11. Do you believe the closeness the girls experienced in childhood was in part a result of growing up in a small town like Ames, Iowa? Would they have been as tight a group of friends if they came of age in a big city, like New York or Chicago or Los Angeles? How much of a factor was Ames in the women’s relationships?
  12. Do you have a collection of friends similar to the Ames girls? Who is in your circle? What does this group and its bonds mean to you?

Next!

I have two new books on my bedside table:  “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” and “Best Friends Forever”!  I’m ready to dive into a story!  The last THREE books I’ve read were memoirs!  Crazy… Ann Bancroft, Jeannette Walls, and the Girls from Ames.  Good times, but I’m ready.

I did find myself in tears while reading The Girls over the weekend.  Loss always gets me.

But now I’d better head off to read.  I have book club Thursday night and I”M NOT DONE YET!  Close.  And the Walkie Talkies didn’t meet tonight or last Monday so I’m really lax!

Off to read!

If it’s Monday it must be…

time to blog!  There’s a movie in my queue with a similar name… “If it’s Tuesday this must be Belgium.” Just one of many movies in my queue…

I’m still enjoying “The Girls from Ames,” but took time away from it this weekend to sit in a lawnchair at baseball games and read April’s Oprah magazine!  I really try to finish them in the month for which they are written, but have been slacking terribly lately!  Still not quite done, but very close!  I’m also listening to the audiobook “You: The Owner’s Manual” by Oz and Roisen.  That’s been fun to listen to and then I get my copy of the book out and write down the notes that I want to remember – the amounts of vitamins I should be taking, etc.

And tonight I spent my “free” night at home in the movie theatre!  It’s the Rochester International Film Festival at the Wehrenberg and a friend called and said she wanted to go, so we went!  And we stayed for a second movie!  I’ve never done that before, although I’ve really wanted to, so I can cross that off my list!  The first film was “Upperdog” from Norway and it was so good.  Just heart-breaking and happy.  About children adopted from Asia into Norway and being separated, and the adults that they become.  A beautiful story.  The second movie was “Small Crime” from Greece, and it was a comedy about a police officer who wanted to move to the big city and be a cop there, but ends up staying in his small town.  It was a hoot, especially because the theatre was filled with the Rochester Greek contingent!  They were laughing hysterically at the movie and it was a joy to be in the crowd with them!

A great start to the week!

And now, off to read!

Friends

I just started “The Girls from Ames,” and I’m excited to read it and think about my own friendships.  I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about that lately, anyway, so maybe it’ll give me clarification? or maybe it’ll just confuse and cause melancholia!  or maybe it’ll inspire reconnection and reaching out.  At any rate, I’m excited to read it.  It’s been on my bedside table for months.

I looked up Jeffrey Zaslow’s Wall Street Journal column (might be monthly?) about “Moving On.”  The most recent column was about men’s relationships and their basis in activity rather than sharing details of their lives.  I haven’t read “The Last Lecture,” another of his books, but might have to look for it.

I feel fortunate that I do have a friendship that I’ve had for almost 40 years – goodness!  It was almost 37 years ago when my family moved to Rushford and I met Deadra and her family.  It’s amazing to think about and maybe I’ll write about it more while reading this book!

What do you notice about your friendships as you get older?  And that age old question: Do you think men and women can be friends?

Well, I had better get some reading done if I hope to have the book finished by next Monday!  I’m up for the challenge and found the first 50 pages pretty easy to get through.

Off to read!