Best Friends
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Best Friends

3.16 of 5 stars 3.16  ·  rating details  ·  4,884 ratings  ·  553 reviews
An unlikely friendship between women that spans two decades drives this unforgettable first novel. Oberlin College, 1973. Clare Mann, the daughter of a Protestant working-class family from Ohio, has never met anyone like her new roommate, Sally Rose. Wealthy, pretty, and Jewish, barely emancipated from her close-knit Los Angeles family, Sally has led a sheltered life. Stil...more
Hardcover, 400 pages
Published June 4th 2001 by Riverhead Hardcover
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Best Friends by Martha MoodyNOS4R2 by Joe HillThe St. Paul Conspiracy by Roger StelljesOmens by Kelley ArmstrongThe Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han
Summer Reads
1st out of 15 books — 8 voters
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Memorable Women's Fiction
30th out of 31 books — 78 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Carol Hunter
From the title I thought this would be a really light-weight book, however, the depth and complexities of 2 women and their friendship over time were thoroughly explored. This is an edgy friendship book.
Karen
Jun 02, 2008 Karen rated it 2 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes a downer
Having a group of women friends I call my best friends - women I have known forever - "celebrate a 40th birthday in vegas" best friends, this book was certainly a let-down. It will create some good discussion at my book-club next month, though. It has lots of "themes" woven in and out of the lives of the two main characters (the "best friends"), interesting themes worthy of book club discussions. But I would never suggest any of MY best friends read this, because the way these women treat each o...more
Rachel
OMG! This was the book that wouldn't end. It said some relevant things about male/female relationships as well as relationships between women, but the plot twists were odd and pointless.

Rita
Got the book in a big box from a friend, Kay, and wasn't going to read it but then did anyway. The interest to me is its generation -- main characters are my sister's age, and it's a reminder of how things were in the 60s - California was THE place to be/go, it had such a reputation in the rest of the country at that time. Well, it still does, but then it was so clear-cut, California was sun and fun and way-out unconventional behavior where more or less anything goes. You could go to Calif. to s...more
Katherine
I'd really like to give this 2.5 stars, and then some specific parts 3.5 stars, but I guess I have to be decisive. This is a fast read and was good for my purposes (vacation reading), but I'm not sure I'd recommend it. The one aspect of women's friendship that I think the author did a good job of capturing though, was that even when someone is indisputably your best friend, you can still sense a fragility there. That is, because the loss of the friendship would be so devastating, fear of that lo...more
Amy
One of the most boring, lame ass books ever!
Florinda
Based on some of the info in Martha Moody's online bio, I infer that that this book has certain autobiographical elements; like Clare, Moody is (was) a physician, and she has had the same best friend since college. I hope there aren't too many similarities other than that - if you choose to read the novel, you'll see what I mean, but I don't want to give any spoilers.

For the most part, I found this book rather irritating. The writing was pedestrian and I didn't like the characters very much, but...more
NATUI
I can only give this book three stars and am pissed I have to do so. It started off SOLID. As the plot line progressed, it got darker, more convoluted, and more irritating. I am absolutely one for a dark story. Usually even in darkest character one find a quality that is redeeming enough to continue the read. As much as I loved the girls in the beginning, their life choices continued to spiral out of control, and all you could do was sigh and think "For the love of Pete, will one of you stand up...more
Erika
Come on! To begin with, this was the author's first book. I can think of many authors who have made less credible attempts at first novels and have gone on to become well read and respected novelists.
Who ever said protagonists had to be likeable? Both Clare and Sally were multi-dimensional characters, and that's what you want in a good book. I agree that at different times while reading this I found it difficult to like either Clare or Sally. Clare seemed self-absorbed and egotistical for much...more
Joy
This is one of those books that you might give up on before it gets good. For me, it took at least 100 pages before I really got into it. And then, all of a sudden, I was flipping through pages like a mad woman, staying up late when I should have been sleeping.

It's the story of two girls who meet in college, and it follows the ebb and flow of their friendship as they become adults. I've read a few reviews and some trash the book because it seems impossible that these women go through so much, an...more
Nancy
Jan 06, 2010 Nancy rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: to open minded people who like to read about relationships
Recommended to Nancy by: no one
At first I wasn't sure if I wanted to get into a book that was 483 pages, but once I did, I really liked it. Martha Moody is an excellent writer, she has the kind of phrasing that makes you pause every so often and appreciate her way with words. I really looked forward to reading Best Friends every day for a while now and I have a feeling I will miss Clare and Sally.
April
This book chronicles the friendship of Sally and Claire from the time they meet in college through their coming of age, getting married, and having children. Sally is an L.A. girl who grows up to be a lawyer. Her fascinating family has several issues, which Claire has a front row seat for. Sally marries twice and has six children. Clarie becomes a doctor who specializes in Aids and has one child that she raises as a single mom. Both girls face their issues with bravery and strength and find the...more
Katherine Owen
There are a lot of aspects that I like about this book. It's realism in terms of two women being friends is great. Even the way Moody deals with the longevity of time and its evolution between these two women is satisfying. I probably just didn't like the ending as much and the story may have gone on a little too long.
Nina
I enjoyed this book, I was surprised that so many people didn't like it. Whilst Sally and Clare are deeply flawed characters, I enjoyed the book for its honesty and realistic portrayal of the complexities of life, relationships and friendships, none of which are ever perfect.
Robert Palmer
Clare Mann from Ohio meets Sally Rose from Las Angles at collage in 1973 , they become close friends,their friendship lasts--- well forever,through good times and bad,but mostly not so good. Just about everything that could go wrong in this novel--- go's wrong. Clare becomes a Doctor specializing in people who are HIV +, Sally becomes a lawyer and a women's advocate. Sounds good so far. I will just give a short list of the many things that happen in the lives of Clare and Sally.two embezzlements...more
Tamar
My cat thought this book would be about dinosaurs. Boy was she shocked to learn the truth. Overall good read. Interesting enough to make me want to finish. I thought the girls would end up as lovers in hippie Idaho but I was wrong again.
Nicole
I genuinely thought this would be quite a fun and introspective read. The title was so simple, two words but it seemed to mean alot. Sadly, I found myself dragging myself through the 400 pages of this book. The reviews as usual were fantastic which made me skeptical.

This is a story of two girls who meet in their first year of college as room mates and they are exact opposites in self and character. But they carry on as close friends till their forties. Clare from Ohio is fascinated by the LA Cal...more
Erin
Giving up! This book wins my own personal prize! The one novel that was SOOO damn DULL and BORING that I gave up 4 chapters in and tossed it across my bedroom with a sigh. It was going nowhere really. The characters were as annoying as nails on a black board or scratching chalk. The narrater was dull and cocky, the best friend was sooo freaking annoying, in speech, description, everything. The "plot" was dragging in slow motion and so trite! This is NO Blume's Summer Sisters, Weiner's Best Frien...more
Paula
I read this book because it was a gift... and only because it was a gift. Maybe I am jaded, but the "dark family secret" didn't even phase me.
Bonnie
Twists and turns in the main character's lives lead (sometimes) to interesting events; sometimes they don't and it gets a bit tedious. Some things (I won't say what as it would be a spoiler) lets us know who the father is before the author wants us to know which was confusing. I guess I believe that two well-educated women should be able to make better choices in their lives (as well as know where Utah and Idaho are). The book had some deep thoughts in it that a bookclub might like about what co...more
Anne
When I read the back cover blurb saying the book was about the friendship of two women who met in college and stayed friends for decades I thought it was right up my alley because I've stayed friends with some amazing women from college.

To say I was disappointed in the book would be an understatement.

At first, I liked sweet Sally and quirky Clare but I slowly began to not like either one of them at all. They're both self-centered (Clare more than Sally) and find reasons to justify all their act...more
Jennifer Friedrichs
I loved this book. So true about any relationship....the dynamics change, people change.
Nichole
Jun 02, 2008 Nichole rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: women
Great book. It reminds me of "Summer Sisters" only it follows the friends much further in life.
Namitha
2.5 out of 5.
I liked this book at the starting. The way its characters and the relationships were portrayed had a sort of earnestness and honesty to them. I loved that these characters had quirks, things that made them unique and different as people. Some paragraphs here and there reminded me of things and people in my life that I could truely relate to. However, as the book progressed, the characters became so realistically flawed(sometimes unrealistically flawed, depends), that it became depre...more
Durbym
If you're expecting the happy, go-lucky, average best friend book and nothing else, don't read this book. Martha Moody brought this book to life. Best Friends has things best friends encounter as they grow up together: Scandals, sex, secrets, raw friendship, and more. The development of the characters in the book is mesmerizing. It shows how even the darkest and most scandalous moments in these women's lives don't interfere with their friendship. Definitely a must read if you like a dark, comple...more
Chrystal
This one was a pretty decent read. I picked it up at a used book sale, drawn in by the "National Bestseller" label across the front. It seemed like it would make for good reading on a relaxing day.

Well, the relaxing day didn't come until last week, when I had lots of solo traveling to do. Once I got a few pages in, I was on a roll and finished pretty quickly. Best Friends is the tale of two women who meet as freshmen in college. One is from Ohio and the other is from LA. They're a bit of a misma...more
Kari
At the end of each school year in high school, I would go to the Borders near my house, make a list of all the books I wanted to read, and check them all out from the library. I put Best Friends by Martha Moody on that list around six years ago, and I just got around to reading it.

Moody tells the story of two girls who attend college at Oberlin in 1973 and are paired as roommates their freshman year. Sally Rose from California and Clare Mann from Ohio could not be bigger opposites. Their persona...more
Kelly
100 pages before the end of this book, I was ready to give the book 4 stars. I really liked the author's style, but didn't feel the "pull" to keep reading the last 100 pages. My incentive for wrapping this book up was the new 1/2 Price Books sitting in my closet waiting to be read.

Typically, this is my kind of a book. I like stories about girly friendships so it was easy for me to select this book. Between the two main characters, there are a lot of crazy family circumstances....probably too muc...more
Lynn
This is the story to two women who meet in college. Each seems to want the life of the other. Clare, who is from a small town in OH, is eager to make social change and live a life not so boring. Sally, from California, does not have the glamorous style and character Clare expected. It is almost as if Clare is looking for the simplier life. The story follows them through college and into their professional careers and as they navigate the waters of marriage, motherhood and divorce.

While I liked...more
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life & friendship 1 13 May 26, 2012 09:53AM  
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“Sometimes the cure is worse than the disease.” 7 likes
“When you're in college you haven't had that much life. Parents, school, assorted youth activities—that's about it.” 6 likes
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