Elizabeth's Reviews > The Girls from Ames: A Story of Women and a Forty-Year Friendship

The Girls from Ames by Jeffrey Zaslow
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's review
Mar 14, 2010

did not like it
Read in March, 2010

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 that style of journalism. But he is NOT a memoirist, as this book clearly demonstrates. The first chapter is overly precious, describing the girls as though they were one fabulous entity. I hoped it would get better once he stopped talking about them collectively. It didn't.

What's more, I hated that he wrote about the parents with no rules as "progressive" and "realistic," and used phrases like "they knew that..." instead of "they felt that..." or "they believed that..." to describe the best way to deal with teenagers. Parents with rules were described as "square." In fact, the author's feelings on many social issues are injected into nearly every page of the book.

But the biggest annoyance was that it was just plain BORING! Why do I care about these women? How are these women different or more interesting than any random person I've ever met? They were actually more boring. How is that possible in a book? I had just come off of reading "The Middle Place" which was a far more compelling memoir (for its writing), and gave me plenty of reasons to care about the characters, even if I didn't always LIKE the characters. "Glass Castles" is even better. I highly recommend SKIPPING this one. Dull.....
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