I vividly remember the day I handed my mom’s hair stylist a picture that I had cut from a magazine and told him that I wanted him to make my hair look just like hers:
“Honey,” he said knowingly, “Lisa Whelchel has a team of people who curl and spray and tease her hair after every scene. Not even Blair has Blair’s hair.”
(Side story that has nothing to do with this book review….Fast forward a decade or so. I laughed as I told my hair stylist about how silly I was to want Blair’s hair back in the day. Then I handed her a picture of a style that I thought would work for me.
The stylist glanced at the picture for a nanosecond then said, “Let me get this straight. You get that I can’t make you look like Blair from Facts of Life, but now you think I can make you look like a 50-year-old black woman?”Well, when she put it like that…)
Well, this weekend I had the opportunity to see Lisa Whelchel way up close and my mom’s hair guy was wrong. Her hair really is that great. I have a picture to show you but apparently the earth came in contact with a sunspot right at the moment this picture was taken because the picture is….well, it’s a little wonky. (It may not be in your dictionary, but “wonky” is just the word to describe this picture.)
Trust me. Her hair looked great and she has beautiful skin. (I wonder if I found out what moisturizer she uses and then started using it if…never mind.)
In the picture, Lisa has just signed my copy of her latest book, Friendship for Grownups, a book that I recently received from BookSneeze. Insert required FTC information here: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
One of my all-time favorite TV shows was “Friends.” I felt like Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Joey, Chandler, and Ross were personal friends of mine. But they weren’t. In fact, I was sad that I didn’t have a group of friends like that in my life. I’ve had plenty of friends along the way, but I’ve realized that making and keeping friends after college, the time when I would argue that you need friends the most, becomes increasingly difficult and takes time and effort. We move a lot because of my husband’s job. I know that I need close friendships with other women, but I get tired of having to start over from scratch in a new city with people I don’t know.
Besides, sometimes I like to pretend that I am someone I am not. I’m not necessarily trying to fool anyone except myself. I just sometimes wish I were more of some things and less others. Because of that, I have a hard time letting people up close and personal with the mess that can be my life. I don’t like to ask people for favors or need them for anything. During my dad’s sickness and since his death, I’ve had to swallow my pride and accept help from my friends. They’ve seen me at my worst. I’ve served them unprocessed thoughts as conversation and later wished that I hadn’t been so transparent. But I’ve discovered that I have some friends who stick closer than a brother or sister. They’ve accepted me in my most raw, unfinished state and have loved me in spite of myself. If I hadn’t needed them so desperately this year, I could have easily missed out on seeing what friendship is supposed to look like. I want more of that in my life. That’s why I loved this book.
What I love most about Lisa Whelchel’s book about grownup friendships is the honesty of her writing. I have read two other books that Lisa wrote. While I learned a lot from those books, I didn’t feel that connection with Lisa as a person that I feel with some other writers. I felt like she certainly knew what she was talking about, but I thought that she was way too “together” to be friends with someone like me. Not that I often become friends with the authors of books that I read, but I like the feeling of connection. I certainly connected with the Lisa Whelchel who wrote this book. No, I don’t think we’re BFFs because I read her book, but I feel like I know her heart a little better. Her vulnerability is so prevalent throughout this book that at times my heart truly hurt for hers as she chronicled her struggle to learn how to be a friend and to receive friendship. I think women are most beautiful and attractive when they are vulnerable and honest.
For me, this book was not only a primer about friendship, it also led me to think a lot about my friendship with God as mirrored by my relationships with others. I’ve been thinking a lot about grace and how I receive it. From this book I learned how to choose a safe friend, but maybe more importantly, I was confronted with the idea that maybe I have not been the friend to others that I truly want to be. I’m not sure that I have always been a safe friend, but now that I know better I can do better.
Another thing that I love about this book is that in the appendices, Lisa offers questions for each chapter that helped me to think through what I had just read. She also gives very practical and doable applications that relate to the information she shared in each chapter. I enjoyed the list of conversation starter questions she includes as well. I like it when a book pushes me past assimilating thoughts and into working out those ideas in my daily life.
I think this would be a great book to read and discuss with a trusted friend. Having a true friend with whom you can completely be yourself and share your life makes each day a little richer and is certainly worth the effort.
Thank you, BookSneeze, for the opportunity to review this book. Most of all, thank you, Lisa, for writing such an honest book about friendship.