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Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close

3.80  ·  Rating details ·  13,735 ratings  ·  1,905 reviews
A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that! But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most people don’t talk much about what it really takes to stay close for the long haul.

Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirm
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published July 14th 2020 by Simon Schuster
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Average rating 3.80  · 
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 ·  13,735 ratings  ·  1,905 reviews

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Apr 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a culture that primarily values romantic or familial relationships, Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close is a necessary corrective. Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman offer a deeply compelling book that is part clear-eyed and poignant memoir of a big, invaluable friendship and part frank manifesto on how to nurture the important friendships in our lives in good times and bad. In each chapter, Sow and Friedman demonstrate how they navigate the nuances of their long-standing friendship with ...more
Ann Friedman
Apr 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I co-wrote this book so let's be real, I am its harshest critic. And I can honestly tell you that I am very proud of this story Aminatou and I have told about the joys and difficulties of our friendship. I think we really managed to capture the ways that friendship feels both mundane and divine, both cozily supportive and frustrating beyond belief. We talked to some very smart experts and other friend pairs, too! I hope everyone who reads it is inspired to invest a little more deeply in their ow ...more
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
This is entirely my about Aminatou and Ann's friendship; certainly not feminist theory, general friendship, self-help, or research that I thought the sub-title suggested. Rather, Aminatou and Ann share how they uphold their friendship. They're great, healthy, self aware friends - from which we all can learn, but I'm thinking this book is for fans of their podcast "Call Your Girlfriend" and not outsiders. ...more
Dec 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was curious about Big Friendship as soon as I heard about it — There are lots of nonfiction books about romantic and family relationships but far fewer focused on platonic friendship. I wanted to like this but I didn’t. I have not listened to Aminatou and Ann‘s podcast Call Your Girlfriend and wasn’t familiar with them prior to reading this book.

Big Friendship focuses on a series of aspects of Aminatou and Ann’s friendship, including why it wasn’t always perfect. They discuss their background
Jul 26, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2020, non-fiction, botm

I chose this as my July Book of the Month because of the subject matter, having no previous exposure to the Call Your Girlfriend podcast. I wasn't entirely sure what to expect, but I find that this was sort of a half this, half that kind of book that didn't fully commit to either thing it was trying to be. That said:

What didn't work for me: This book was part memoir of Sow and Friendman's friendship and half something else that was a bit self-help-y or just like... informative. Whether or not yo
Lily Herman
Apr 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
If this book doesn't make you want to get up and call your best friend immediately, I don't know what will.

Seeing as I've been an avid reader, follower, and listener of Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman's work for over half a decade, I'll admit that I was already predisposed to really love this Big Friendship. Even if you've never heard of them or have maybe been on the fringes of their writing or podcasting, you're in for a treat.

Big Friendship tackles our cultural issues with giving platonic relat
Shannon Leigh Jones
Jul 22, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: botm
This book is insufferable and unbearably self-important. I picked it from Book of the Month thinking it would be about best friends talking about female friendships in relatable way, not anticipating that it would be almost exclusively walking through their own friendship in painstaking detail. I guess if I were the number one fan of their podcast or maybe one of their mothers this self-pandering could be interesting. I hadn't heard of their podcast though. Unless you are creepy interested in mu ...more
SO i saw the lukewarm reviews and ratings for this book and tempered my expectations, bracing myself for the very real possibility that i wasn't going to love big friendship.

and that was definitely the case when i read about sow and friedman's personal anecdotes. i didn't love, per se, reading about the mundane details of their lives.

theirs is a friendship between two upper-middle-class, working-professional millennials in america whose lives i couldn't really relate to. even as i got the big
The best thing about this book is its sales pitch - the notion of putting friendship in the spotlight as a relationship that can be as improtant and meaningful as one's romantic links and is worth (and requires) as much effort and investment. That was lovely.

But the book itself is mostly a story of the authors' friendship, with some additional side notes and explanations thrown in as background dressing, and that friendship is not /that/ compelling (or at least, imho, not that compellingly writt
Yelda Basar Moers
I was excited about this book because I value my friendships so much and like the famous philosopher Ralph Waldo Emerson I also believe that friendships are holy and sacred. But I found this to be a quite uneventful and unremarkable read. There is really nothing new or eventful I discovered or learned from this book about friendships, and though the two authors believe they have a "big friendship" I couldn't see it or feel it frankly. I never could understand why they had the problems that they ...more
Becca Freeman
Jun 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Did not know what to expect going into this book, but LOVED it! Really enjoyed how the narrative of Aminatou and Ann's friendship was interwoven with sociological research on friendship. Can't wait for it to come out so I can buy for all my BIG friends. ...more
Claire Reads Books
Aug 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
Tbh, thinking about friendship as much as Ann and Amina do stresses me out (maybe I’m lucky that most of my platonic relationships are pretty easy while also being very fulfilling), but this was a nice tribute to their friendship and to friendship more generally – and a refreshingly serious consideration of a kind of social bond that many of us take for granted.
Traci at The Stacks
I really liked this book about deeply meaningful friendships. Mostly co-memoir but also a little research on friendship made for a richer experience. Made me want to call my best friend. Loved how this book gave value up our platonic relationships and the important ways they make us who we are. The book didn’t really have an ending nor did we really get to resolve the main conflict.
Ali Diehl
Jul 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was disappointed and this may be b/c of marketing or my misconception as to what the book was. I found it uneventful and unremarkable :/ There are too many good books out there to spend time on this one
Aug 13, 2020 rated it it was ok
I'm going to preface my review by saying that I am a big fan of the podcast and have been listening since the beginning. I find these ladies to be intelligent and articulate and relevant, and this book has not changed that view.

I was excited but wary about reading this book, as getting to better know your (insert appropriate label for respected public figure here) can often "ruin" it for you, as it will likely change your view of them somehow.

As I prefaced, my view of them has not changed-at lea
Sandy Nawrot
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio
I debated not even posting a review for this book, because I don't want to seem like an asshole. But if you know me, you know I'm going to speak my mind because I have to. I'll just try to use my filter. This book attracted me, like any book about friendship, because my friends are so precious to me. There are many days when they literally are what keep my head above water. And I like to hear how others feel the same. But this book was less about friendships in general and more about these two w ...more
chantel nouseforaname
This book was a beautiful, extremely well-executed testament around putting the effort in when it comes to maintaining close personal friendships.

Protecting real friendship is like protecting any other relationship you're in. We work at marriages and trying to build connections between siblings, etc. but when it comes to things that may deconstruct in a friendship, we're much less likely to really put the effort in to save that relationship because we have this belief that friendships just run t
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I got this book from Book of the Month, and wasn't sure what to expect! I'm very big into the idea that friendships are oftentimes more important than our romantic relationships, and that a friend breakup can hurt way worse than a romantic breakup, so the topic of the book definitely appealed to me. "Big Friendship" gave me a lot to think about when it comes to sustaining, understanding, and communicating in my own friendships (current or past, "Big" or otherwise). I especially appreciated the s ...more
Rhea (Rufus Reads)
Feb 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
WOW. Review upcoming, mostly to remind myself to keep coming back to this, time and again. I needed this book sorely, and it just clicked. Straight up to my favorites.
Go with audiobook on this one, since listening to these two best friends perform the book about their friendship is excellent, and the cameos from experts is a big bonus.

A solid read about how little information or support there is for Big Friendships -- think the best friendships -- despite it being a powerful intimate relationship in so many of our lives. I love that these two went to couples therapy to work through challenges in their friendship and they're very open and candid about the cha
Panda Incognito
I wanted this book to be very different than it is. It is totally a memoir, not a general study on friendship, and the friends go into excruciating levels of detail about their origin story, the process of getting to know each other, and about what they like to do together. If I followed their podcast, I might be like, "Wow, I love how down-to-earth and relatable they are! Friendship goals!" But since I picked up this book with no knowledge or existing appreciation of the authors, I just found i ...more
Aug 24, 2020 rated it liked it
Our society doesn’t value friendships as “real” relationships. Contrary to the norm, I have always valued my friendships and prioritized them over some familial and romantic relationships. So I was really excited to read this book because I felt seen.

It’s a part memoir and part manual on how to foster lasting friendships. It was affirming to read about Aminatou and Ann overcoming difficult times in their relationship by putting in the work. And while the book doesn’t reveal any groundbreaking t
Dec 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
I thought this was a personal development self improvement sort of book... I was incorrect lol I don't even know Aminatou and Ann from their podcast "Call Your Girlfriend." This book is for the fans of the podcast and not outsiders!!!

This book is entirely about Aminatou and Ann's friendship. Aminatou and Ann share how they uphold and maintain their friendship.

Sadly I didn't get anything out of this book.
rosa guac
Aug 02, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: friendship
In a world where there's a plethora of literature and how-to's for romantic relationships, this book explores the often unexplored dynamics of platonic friendships. What does it mean to sustain friendships that provide us with profound meaning, growth, and love? What does it mean to be a good friend, a friend capable of, and committed to, Big Friendship? Ann Friedman and Aminatou Sow goes into the trials, tribulations, and ultimately the pressures of living up to an idealized projection that man ...more
Jul 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: botm, nonfiction, at-home
4.75 stars. Clearly written from the perspective of a millennial, but messaged for all generations. I have a hardback copy that is flagged like a new filling station with marks of places in the book that I want to be able to reference. For the friends that I want to keep, there are inspiring clues about how to maintain or heal when needed.
Hannah Frey
Jul 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a beautiful and important book about friendship. I learned some great things and am glad I read it.
It did take me about 70 pages to get into it - it’s only 205 pages so almost half the book kind of dragged, but then it really picked up the rest of the way.
I loved the narrators! I just found it difficult to get into their personal story right away (I have never listened to their podcast), but once it became a little more about big friendships in general with their story only as support,
Jul 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such an affirming book about the joys, challenges, and importance of a “big friendship.” You don’t have to be a listener of Call Your Girlfriend to get a lot out of this book—anyone who makes room in their life for long-term, deep friendships will see themselves (and their friends!) in Ann and Aminatou’s story.
Orsi Pusok
Jul 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This was a remarkable read about a topic so so close to my heart - friendships. It was a good reminder of their irreplaceable value in one's life.
I'm recommending this book to all my girlfriends and look forward to heartfelt discussions about it.
Sarah Smith
Jul 11, 2020 rated it it was ok
I was disappointed and this may be because of marketing or my misconception of what the book was. I thought it was more self improvement but it proved to be more of a memoir, which is fine- but I’m gonna be honest I’m not a fan of their podcast so I probably wouldn’t have picked it up. It’s an okay book, but definitely not the best. My favorite chapter was “Too big too fail” because it was more of what I expected from this book. But overall, I wouldn’t recommend unless you’re a fan of their podc ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I liked this one a lot for taking the complexity of friendship seriously. I thought the conflict and resolution part was oversold as most of the book was about their friendship formation and work, but the book kept me thoroughly engaged. The race dynamics section at the end was probably the best treatment of the issue I've ever read. ...more
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Brunch Babes Reads: Big Friendship: Spoilers Discussion 1 15 Jan 05, 2021 07:01PM  
Book of The Month: Big Friendship **SPOILER DISCUSSION** 1 61 Jun 28, 2020 03:32PM  

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