Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship” as Want to Read:
The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  10,372 Ratings  ·  1,964 Reviews
From the coauthor of "The Last Lecture" comes a moving tribute to female friendships, with the inspiring true story of eleven girls and the ten women they became.

Karla, Kelly, Marilyn, Jane, Jenny. Karen, Cathy, Angela, Sally, Diana. Sheila. Meet the Ames Girls: eleven childhood friends who formed a special bond growing up in Ames, Iowa. As young women, they moved to eight
Hardcover, 297 pages
Published April 21st 2009 by Gotham (first published January 1st 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Girls from Ames, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Girls from Ames

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Mar 15, 2009 Sfdreams rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: every woman
Shelves: reviewed
I have wanted to read this book for a long time, so was very excited to win an advance reading copy on Goodreads. The book did not disappoint! I read it in a day and a half—I couldn’t put it down. I debated whether to give this book 4 or 5 stars, and finally decided to give it five stars, since I felt like this book would stay with me for awhile.

Read the blurb about the book on Goodreads—I won’t repeat the information, and it gives a good overview of the book. I was born seven years before these
Apr 28, 2009 Lt rated it it was ok
When I heard the author and two of the subjects on NPR I immediately bought a copy, wondering if I would know any of the "girls." I was living and working in Ames in 1981 when their class graduated from Ames High, and sure enough, I immediately recognized one of the main characters, and had connections with the families of others. Reading the book was much like the odd dislocation that Walker Percy describes in The Moviegoer when surprised by a scene on screen that is familiar in real life. That ...more
Mar 15, 2010 Elizabeth rated it did not like it
Huh?? How is this book popular!? It was poorly written, uninteresting, and shallow. I know that is harsh, but I would truly add this to a "10 most disliked books" list if I had one.

There are books I don't like, but I can see why other people do. This does not fall into that category. It was awful. I didn't grow to care about the women in the book at all, and again, the writing made me want to throw it in the garbage. I'm not familiar with Zaslow's articles for the WSJ, and perhaps he is good at
Mar 28, 2009 Leigh rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
The Girls from Ames is a great story. There are few women who could read this book and not be a little jealous of the love and support these ten women have provided each other for decades. Female friendships are truly unique, and the girls from Ames have graciously opened theirs to the world. This book is an honest look at both the joys and the heartache, the laughter and the tears. I truly enjoyed this book, and in turn value my own friendships that much more.
Lisa Vegan
Mar 23, 2009 Lisa Vegan rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: women and teen girls
I was able to borrow this from a long distance friend (thank you Terri!) who won it from Goodreads First Reads giveaway program. It’s an advance readers’ copy, paperback, 317 pages. I’ve grown addicted to ARCs since joining Goodreads, my preference being to read actual to be published copies sufficiently ahead of the official publication date.

Except for the front cover, there are no photos included so I’m very glad my friend included information about the web site i
Aug 23, 2012 Carol rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Ever since I read The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters and The Last Lecture with Randy Pausch I have wanted to hit the backlog of Jeffrey Zaslow and read more that he's written. You can just tell that he is a compassionate man, who tells a story with such feeling, whether it be about women or men. I was saddened to hear of his death in a car accident this past February.

I've had The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship. Eleven women that forme
Mar 17, 2009 Katherine marked it as to-read
Shelves: not-owned
This came up as a "featured book," on my page; it's probably just coincidence that it's about my hometown! Not necessarily a book I'd go for otherwise, but I have to read anything about Ames.
Jun 03, 2010 Jennie rated it it was ok
Shelves: human-behavior
I have very mixed feelings about this book. I wanted to like this book. I really, really did. However, the writer was a man and while that shouldn't be a problem, it kind of was for this book. Maybe a different man would have done a better job, but honestly, there was too much bewilderment from the author coming through the narrative. If I had to make a guess about this author, I'd guess that he likes and respects women, but is one of those men who find women to be an "other" some kind of un-und ...more
May 30, 2009 Rhonda rated it it was ok
Shelves: read-in-2009
OK, maybe it's really a 2.5 stars...somewhere between it was ok, and I liked it.

Wall Street Journal comumnist sets out to write a story on "the deep bonds of women as they experience life's joys and challenges---and the power of friendship to triumph over heartbreak and unexpected tragedy."

The author sorts through stacks of notes, letters, photos, scrapbooks, articles these 11 "girls-now-40-somethings" provided, along with phone calls, visits, etc., he even spent a weekend with them at their lat
Sep 07, 2009 Rebecca rated it liked it
First let me say, I expected to like this book much better than I did. Therefore I was shocked when half way through I was ready to give it 2 stars and quit reading it. However, it was for a bookclub, so I decided to finish it and the last half was better and worth 3 stars. So I guess my true rating would be 2.5, but I will round up this time.

The main thing I didn’t like about the first half of the book was how clickish and judgmental the girls were in high school, towards other girls and each
Alethea A
May 31, 2009 Alethea A rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: girls and women everywhere, and anyone who would like to understand us
Recommended to Alethea by: Borders. good on you.
I didn't think I would like this book half as much as I did. I am not a non-fiction reader; I like my non-fic in magazine-article doses, preferably out of Entertainment Weekly. Better yet, just give me a list, just the top ten.

I found myself keeping a finger stuck between the pages that show the Girls' photos, and every time something in particular about their story resonated for me, I'd flip to the front and look at the Girl or Girls in question. I felt myself wanting to know them, to look the
Apr 13, 2009 Monika rated it really liked it
Shelves: first-reads
update: finally got a chance to sit down and read, and finish this book. overall, it was a great great read, and made me wish that growing up i had so many girlfreinds who would stand by me regardless of anything. Sure they disagreed sometimes, but overall, they we're the true epitamy of best friends.
Great, great read! SO glad i got this as a first reads!

update: So I started the book last night, and put it down @ page 140 because it was really late, and I had to get to bed---otherwise I think I
Aug 05, 2010 Mandy rated it liked it
I thought this book was an interesting idea, in concept. It was a quick, easy read. It would be good for a book club book or for a group of girls who have or appreciate long lasting friendships.

In my opinion the stories of the women and the sociological reflections by the author were often jarring and not seamless. Sometimes you felt like you were reading an email, other times you felt like you were reading a textbook. I also had a difficult time getting into the writing. I come from a school of
Aug 25, 2016 Jennifer rated it it was ok
It has taken me many months to read this. I read a little of this book at a time in between novels because it just wasn't compelling enough to hold my attention.

I'm not much of a non-fiction reader, but having spent the first 12 years of my life in Ames, I was intrigued by this book. Sadly, it is not very well written, and I was also a little turned off by what these girls were like as teenagers (though I think I'd like most of them as grown women). I realize that many people lacked good sense a
Feb 25, 2010 Lisa rated it did not like it
Shelves: biography-memoir
I didn't finish this book. I read about half of it, and was interested in the stories of the eleven friends who make up the group and how they got together when they were chldren and became "the Shisters." (That's a moniker I'll leave the book to explain, and I got tired of reading the vulgar word that led to the group name.) I was also interested in the author's insertion of results of studies that have researched friendship and how they compared to this group of friends. As they left high scho ...more
Aug 01, 2010 Cindy rated it liked it
I picked this book up, not realizing it was non-fiction. But something about it drew me in, and I found myself absorbed in this true story of 11 friends, and all that they have been through over the years, while still maintaining their nearly 40 year friendship.

Yes, it's sappy, and yes, there are some tear-jerking moments. But in reading it, I found myself thinking about my own friendships and wishing I had friends as close as these. It's almost inevitable that you'll find yourself comparing you
Sep 28, 2011 Denise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Ugghhh. I so badly wanted to like this book chronicling the true friendship of 11 women spanning 40 years since I myself have experienced such female bonding. But alas, the book is so poorly written and shallow that I couldn't help but groan throughout. So obviously written by a man as he failed miserably at telling a good story nor capturing the complexity and depth of BFF's and frenemies.

The writing was atrocious. Honestly, the worst I have ever seen. The author loosely (generous word) organiz
May 06, 2010 Kate rated it liked it
Shelves: cannonball-read
Exactly what makes a good book a good book? How is it defined? Do we base it on an inspiring writing style? Or something that leaves you with a message sunk deep into your bones? Or is a good book something that has stood up to the passing years, surviving fads and unpopularity? I suspect that critics and lay people have been debating this since the advent of the printing press, but I only bring it up because I am unsure of how to judge this particular work.

I’m referring to The Girls from Ames
From my blog...[return]The Girls From Ames by Jeffery Zaslow is an in-depth and intriguing look at the social and behavioral traits that brought these particular eleven girls together as friends, maintained their friendships spanning decades, states, marriages, divorces, and even death. While they were a unit, each girl had at least one defined role. To fully understand the Ames girls, Zaslow takes an in-depth look at the beginning of each girl's family life and how their families impacted their ...more
Jul 24, 2010 David rated it liked it
The setting is a long-weekend reunion of the 10 surviving (of 11) women from a tight group of lifelong friends from Ames, Iowa. Nothing much happens at the reunion, so that functions mostly as a scene-setter for flashbacks and commentary about their lives and friendship.

The book was a mixed bag for me. On the minus side, it's poorly edited -- repetition is unwelcome when the subject is interesting (e.g., dying words of the one who died young from a possibly drunken fall) and indefensible when th
Jun 15, 2011 Katherine rated it liked it
Shelves: read-non-fiction
I picked this up at the library thinking it was fiction, however, it is the true story of a 11 girls from Ames, Iowa who became close friends in elementary school and despite the fact they are spread out all over the country are still extremely close friends in their mid-forties. Interspersed with the details of their lives are passages about studies which show that a close group of female friends is one of the contributing factors to being healthy, happy and living a long time at least for wome ...more
Diana Bogan
What is remarkable about this story is not the individual trials and tribulations that these women face in their own lives. And it isn't even really the fact that a woman can have such a deep and meaningful bond of friendship with another woman. What struck me as remarkable - astonishing really- is that a group of 11 women can share such a deep friendship that transcends the group as a whole. And more, sustain it. Having not grown up in one town my entire childhood, I can't conceive of this bein ...more
Oct 24, 2012 Rhonda rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I just finished this book and then read some of the reviews. I agreed with most of them, that the underlying story of these mid-west enduring friends is wonderful. Their stories made me laugh and cry. I grew up near where they lived and a few years ahead of them. I never knew any of them, but their stories resonated with me. I still have a group of friends from grade-school through high-school who keep in touch with cards, facebook and e-mail. We don't get together near as much as the girls in t ...more
Jul 25, 2010 Jo rated it liked it
Enjoyed it. Made me think of my own girlfriends and our history and how blessed I am to have so many long term friends throughout the different facets and time periods of my life. It also made me realize some of the hurtles we've yet to face. I was touched at many points during the book, but it could maybe have been organized better or the characters could have been introduced in a more memorable way. I did find myself flipping back frequently to see who was who again. Of course, organizing the ...more
Megan Lambert
Oct 16, 2010 Megan Lambert rated it did not like it
Blah. The first half was okay; the second half I couldn't even complete, as I was bored to tears of hearing the authorm chatter on about the ordinary day-to-day trials of life as a woman, mother, friend, and wife.

There was nothing special about these women, save a life-long friendship, and most of the book was spent in details I already have to listen to my coworkers drone on about on a daily basis. At least that I am getting paid for.

I enjoy a good people story IF it is inspiring/original/cre
Canada Snyder
Jun 19, 2009 Canada Snyder rated it did not like it
I really didn't think this book was all that great. I think i had a difficult time getting past the fact that these girls were the "mean girls" in school. Also, many of their friendships seemed to only be on the surface. what was the author's point in writing this book? that was not very apparent because there are many friendships i can think of that are deeper, have lasted longer etc...I felt like it was sort of cliche because he was talking about a cute story from the these frie ...more
Jul 26, 2011 Judy rated it it was amazing
I love this book so far, it is non-fiction and is about 11 girls who are now in there mid forties and have remained friends for decades. Their stories of life and friendship... it is wonderful and I can't wait to read more. Gotta love a real story about women and their friendships thru the years as well as remaining close.

Ok I have finished it I really enjoyed this book. I think all u girls and many in book club will as well. If u want to borrow it just let me know.
Apr 14, 2011 Nola rated it did not like it
One of the worse books I've read. It would have interesting parts, such as the individual stories of the girls, but it was like reading 10 million interesting thoughts in no particular order. Jumped all over the place and felt like he was writing facts and physical observations only. He seemed to get so caught up in the foreignness of the way girls think, act, care, etc about each other that he never delved past the skin of the subject.
Jul 28, 2011 Debie rated it did not like it
This was one of my bookclub picks. If it hadn't been, I would have tossed it aside after the first couple of chapters instead of making myself finish it. I truly hated this book; the seemily nonstop pettiness and cattiness amongst these supposed friends. The documentary style was incredibly boring and emotionally disconnected. There was just nothing about it that was worth my time or money.
Dec 20, 2009 Nancie rated it did not like it
BOOORING!! The writer followed the real lives of 10 women, who maintained an "extraordinary" friendship for years. Except they aren't extraordinary or even interesting.

It's like a boring reality tv show, I was constantly wondering why I'm supposed to care about these people.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Teaching the Pig to Dance: A Memoir of Growing Up and Second Chances
  • Keeper: One House, Three Generations, and a Journey into Alzheimer's
  • Chords of Strength: A Memoir of Soul, Song and the Power of Perseverance
  • We'll Be Here for the Rest of Our Lives: A Swingin' Show-Biz Saga
  • You Say Tomato, I Say Shut Up: A Love Story
  • Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage
  • The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War
  • Bitch Is the New Black: A Memoir
  • The Gates of November
  • A Ticket to the Circus: A Memoir
  • In the Valley of the Kings: Howard Carter and the Mystery of King Tutankhamun's Tomb
  • Black Is the New White
  • Bearded Tit
  • Resilience: The New Afterword
  • Between a Heart and a Rock Place: A Memoir
  • Jeff Corwin: a Wild Life: The Authorized Biography
  • Turn Left At The Trojan Horse: A Would-Be Hero's American Odyssey
  • Keeping the Feast: One Couple's Story of Love, Food, and Healing in Italy
Through his Wall Street Journal column and bestselling books, Jeffrey Zaslow has told the stories of some of the most inspirational people of our time.

The Last Lecture, written with Randy Pausch, has been translated into 48 languages, and was #1 on best-seller lists worldwide. Five million copies have been sold in English alone, and the book has remained on The New York Times best-seller list for
More about Jeffrey Zaslow...

Share This Book

“Here's what we'll do. We're going to keep you at the end of our fishing line. And if you ever need anything, you just give a little tug and we'll reel you back in.” 8 likes
“Because I have no actual sisters, it is my friends from Ames who’ve exposed me to every facet of womanhood.” 1 likes
More quotes…