Friendship by Emily Gould

Virago 2014
Reviewed by Jenny March

The novel follows the lives of two best friends Bev and Amy , reaching their 30s in New York during the current recession. Bev is unhappy, temping and unwilling to face up to her dire financial situation. Amy has a promising job at an internet start-up named Yidster, which aims to tell news stories from a Jewish perspective but is barely functioning. On the surface she is successful but things quickly begin to break down with her home and relationship. Neither of the characters seem to know what they really want and the novel has some black comic moments when they are their own worst enemies. Gould explores the history of Bev and Amy’s friendship,which has many pop culture references the millennial generation will recognise and explores how these experiences have shaped the dynamic of their relationship .

The third protagonist Sally is an older woman they encounter through an acquaintance and her relationship with Bev and Amy is what drives the narrative, often in unexpected ways. Her home and career are wonderfully described as the dream of impoverished urban folk.The three women all have difficult decisions to make, they are all struggling with the roles women take on in 21st century society and by the end of the novel Bev and Amy’s positions have reversed. This book is unexpected, raw and will provoke introspection among anyone who sees their own troubles reflected in the lives and friendship of Bev and Amy.

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