Title: With Friends Like These: A Novel
Author: Sally Koslow
Release Date: August 10, 2010
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Rating: 3 out of 5
Talia, Chloe, Quincy, and Jules have been best friends ever since they randomly ended up rooming together in a New York City apartment. They no longer live together, each having gone their separate ways, but they remain close, at least on the surface. However, each woman is facing something difficult that she can’t bring herself to share with her friends – for Talia, it’s her disappointment at her husband’s lack of financial prowess. For Quincy, it’s her sheer depression at having had two miscarriages. As each of these women faces her own crisis, they learn when they can lean on each other, as well as the meaning of disloyalty and betrayal.
I was a big fan of Sally Koslow’s previous novel The Late Lamented Molly Marx, so I was really excited when I learned she had a new book coming out. With Friends Like These is a close inspection of friendship between women, and all the good and bad that comes from it.
I thought Koslow’s depiction of female friendships was accurate, to a point. She certainly captures the cattiness and backhandedness that seems to inevitably come with women’s friendships, as well as the power and damage that secrets can do to these relationships. However, I unfortunately didn’t see a lot of the good side in With Friends Like These. Female friendships can be extremely rewarding, but only the negative seems to be displayed in this novel. It was unexpected, and unfortunately, didn’t sit well with me.
I did really like two of the characters in With Friends Like These, Talia and Quincy. Talia made mistakes and certainly was selfish, but I understood where she was coming from and why she was frustrated. Part of her problem was living in New York City – living in that expensive environment would cause anyone to think about money non-stop. For some reason, even though she wasn’t portrayed in the best light, I really felt bad for her. With Quincy, it was easy to understand why I sympathized with her. Her miscarriages were difficult enough, but on top of that, she had to deal with Jules’ betrayal – I’m glad she made the decision she did towards the end of the book. It really suited her.
With Friends Like These didn’t really appeal to me like I’d hoped. I didn’t have a lot invested in the characters, and I think my expectations were too high, especially considering The Late Lamented Molly Marx was such a unique novel. I didn’t know what this book was about when I first picked it up, but if I had, I may not have chosen to read it. If you are really interested in books about female friendships, this may work better for you than it did for me. While I didn’t love With Friends Like These, I’ll definitely be seeking out Sally Koslow’s next novel.