Tell Us About Your Friends

We invite you to share your thoughts here on the Ames girls’ story, or to tell us about your own group of friends. (If there’s a follow-up project, we may be back in touch for more details. Thanks!)

Click here to share your thoughts.
(424) Sue
Mon, 21 June 2010 04:38:03 +0000

What a FANTASTIC book! It made me laugh and cry and I didn't want it to end. This book and all of the Ames Girls truly show how strong the bonds are of female friendships and how much we should value them. I have a tight knit group of 10 friends we all are from Iowa as well and call ourselves the Iowa Gals. Some of us grew up in Des Moines (close to Ames) and others from around the state, and we all slowly came together over the years from kindergarten up to college, with some of us attending Iowa State in Ames. We have gotten together for our IA Girl's Weekend every summer since graduating from college this summer will be our 20th Anniversary celebrating our friendships. With all of us being either the same age or close to the Ames Girls ages it was so fun reading and connecting with growing up during those years, the IA and Ames connection and most of all reminding us of the wonderful freindships that we all should really be thankful for. Thank you Ames Girls for sharing your story with us it was a gift!

(423) Cathy
Sat, 19 June 2010 19:48:23 +0000

I want to thank you all, Girls from Ames, for sharing your stories of friendship. After I finished the book, I actually missed you all. Reading your story helped me to understand the people I've known that are involved with groups and avidly social. It also leads to some introspection on my own friendships. I believe the stars lined up just right for you all to meet, and form the type of lasting friendship you have. Through the years, those relationships have helped to make you who you are and must have given you a wonderful sense of being cared about. I have a lot friends, even some that go back 40 or 50 years, but very few are as intimate or supportive as you all have been to each other. I've taken a look at myself to understand why. I think an angry alcoholic mother had a lot to do with it. I was the family scapegoat and caregiver. As a result I wound up with friendships that are often one-sided, and out of balance, with me doing all the listening and giving. It's a tough habit to break, and not one there's a class for. If there ever is a plan to offer Friendship 101 as an elective, I believe you all should teach it. Thanks again.

(422) Ann Tornillo
Sat, 19 June 2010 04:41:06 +0000

I just finished your book and it was great. Thanks to all of you for sharing your friendship. It made me laugh and cry. I have a dear friend here in Memphis from Waterloo, Iowa who is going back for her 40th high school reunion next week. Although I've "only" just been out 31 years and grew up the same time you all did, she can't wait to read this. I grew up in the Boston area and from what I see, it wasn't that much different for teenagers in the 70's in Iowa than it was in Massachusetts.
The drinking age was 18 and we were all having keg parties somewhere. Thanks again and continue to make each other laugh and have fun.

(421) Helen
Thu, 17 June 2010 19:06:39 +0000

What an incredible book! Incredible women, author, stories.
I grew up in a small town in IL across the river from St. Louis. The women I began first grade with are still a deep part of who I am, how I look at the world. We only see each other every five years at high school reunions ... but it's as though time never passed from reunion to reunion. I will forever cherish these women / girls and what they brought to my life.
Thank you from the bottom of my heart for this book!
PS ... I am yearning for a sequel in a few years.

(420) Kristen
Thu, 17 June 2010 18:46:30 +0000

This story really hit home for me. I read the first page and immediately sent out an email to my friends challenging them to read this book! I am lucky enough to be part of an amazing group of friends as well. While I read this book, I kept a notepad with me to write down all of the similarities between their lives and ours. There were so many! First of all, our group was also named by "haters" and it was an ugly name that we happily embraced. We have had the same conversations, the same stories! We are about to turn 30, so we don't have nearly as many life experiences as the Ames girls, but reading this has in a way, prepared me for what could come. We love each other and know with all our hearts that we will be friends forever. We have been friends for 15 years now. We have faced teen pregnancy, deaths in the family, moving away, births of children.....but we are lucky enough to be there for each other no matter how far. I recently moved away for the first time in my life and finally realized how important our group of 7 is to me. I happened upon this book at just the right time. Thank you for your story.

(419) Rhea Morrison
Tue, 15 June 2010 21:56:51 +0000

I am sure you have received literally thousands of letters from woman that shared their "friendship" experiences after reading this book, I however, would like to share the memories it brought to me about the birth of my son, Ward. My husband, in 1968, and I moved to Ames from Newport Beach, CA on a February day that went from 72 on the beach to 13 below a couple of days later when we arrived in our 1965 Mustang filled to the brim with all we possessed and a Labrador that was ready to deliver 9 puppies any minute. The weather was a drastic change from what we were used to as two native Southern California residents ages 21 and 23. By March I too became pregnant with our first child due to the need of staying warm in our paper thin farm hand home on an Apple Farm out on the dirt road of Rural Route 3. In the year we were there, while my now ex went to graduate school, we experienced things and people that we have not experienced anywhere else in our lives. Some of the experiences were fun like walking into town on the Railroad Tracks to get back to pick up our broken down car in -13 degree weather! Some were scary like the day my ex came home with glass all over his body from a train warning sign failing to signal and came down without warning crashing through the front windshield. The locals rejected us because we were "too Californian" and forward...etc. But the time I remember the most about that time in Ames was when I was stranded in our house because the snow drift would not let our front door open wide enough to get my 3 week over due body out of it. Finally when the time came to go to the hospital, my ex pushed open the door enough to get me to safety. The birth of my son and the precious days of being a mom for the first time were the best time of my stay there. This book took me on my own journey into the past and present time of both good and sad times. In 1994, my son, Ward stopped talking to both his sister and I and we don't know why. The book helped me to appreciate how life really is so precious through the stories of these wonderful Ames women and their family experiences. I too lost a son, but mine is still alive! I pray that some day my son will forgive me for whatever his father told him to turn away from his sister and I and will become more than just a memory from Ames! Thank you for allowing me to share just a snippet of my life too.

(418) Tammy
Mon, 14 June 2010 20:23:50 +0000

Reading this book was such such a joy. I, too, have a group of friends that I couldn't imagine living without. We call ourselves the Girly Girls. Or GiGi's for short. And since we also graduated high school in the late 80's, it was fun to think back to those days.

A couple of the girls have moved away and unfortunately one passed away from breast cancer several years ago but we still try to keep in touch as often as possible. The craziness of life is ever present but the bonds of friendship are amazingly strong and for this I'm thankful.

Thanks for sharing this story. It really made me think about how luck I am to have my GiGi's. They've continued to walk beside me through life, and sometimes even carried me when I've needed it.

(417) Danielle
Mon, 14 June 2010 05:15:12 +0000

Dear Ames Girls & Mr. Zaslow,

As an avid reader I avoided this book feeling that my connections with women were not very strong. Having grown up with a hyper critical mother and moving every year until I was 11, I didn't make strong memorable friendships until I met a group of girls in the 6th grade, but like Sally, they turned on me in the 8th grade writing me a horribly mean note. Though we ended the school year on good terms, I entered high school leary of women and unsure of my support system. I soon found other friends, but made a point to keep myself free from a group of girls and tried to be friends with all different people. I had a successful high school experience and was voted most athletic, but I recall having many "best friends" and bouncing from group to group always staying on the fringe - this kept me from the risk of getting hurt again - especially since my role model at home was an angry rage-aholic who took her frustrations out on me. To make it worse, my mother had a close network of friends, but it seemed like complaining about their daughters (our weight, love of sports, and other differences) seemed their favorite passtime. Through the years I always considered myself a "guy's girl", chosing to make my relationships and friendships with men more important than those with women. The Girls from Ames made me reassess my female friendships, and I have come to realize that from my college sorority sisters to my group of 6 girlfriends today - I have wonderful women in my life though I've resisted getting close, they've put up with my sometimes callous, distant behavior and loved me unconditionally. I'll be in my 2nd wedding this year at the age of 41 (the bride is 31) and though I'm somewhat of a late bloomer, I realize I am now fully capable of loving and trusting my female friends. I plan on reviving some of my college connections (they've always tried, but I resisted) thanks to the book. I most identified with Jenny because of her career and Kelly because of her outspoken, rebel ways. Funnily enough my boyfriend who is 12 years my junior and are currently trying for our first child :). I will channel the strength of these two women - as well as look for Diana in one of my local Scottsdale Starbucks - as I happily strive to make my dreams for a family come to fruition. One of my biggest fears was having a girl and all the emotions that come with their upbringing, but "The Girls from Ames" make me realize the power of our gender. How exciting it would be to raise an equally strong woman.

to the Ames girls with love, faith and thanks,

(416) Becky Robinett
Mon, 14 June 2010 03:11:27 +0000

This book has let me into something I have never belonged too. I at the moment of finishing the book am feeling a great loss. Its as if I was accepted to participate with this friendship the joys, the love, the heartbreak, the grief, and loss. I feel like Karla would be my best friend, I need coffee, I need sleep, and I wanna go home! Everything about her I admire! Her courage, her perseverance, just absolutely everything! My heart is filled with thoughts of Kelly and Angela and their physical health. I simply am in tears, I felt a part of them, that through the book I was invited into their lives, their inner circle and now its as if they have all gone away. As a 35 almost 36 married mother of 3, I crave this in my life! Wow, is all I can say in conclusion! Wow! Brilliant brilliant captivating book. I spent a summer in Des moines and went to Ames 6 yrs ago to visit my sister. Iowa captured my heart and I tell everyone I would live in Iowa in a minute. Maybe the Ames girls left a precious sense of belonging behind, something magical as they all dispersed to other parts of the U.S. For others to feel cause I feel like I belong! Thank you so much ladies for your inspiration into my life and hope and pray I find a friendship like that someday.......

(415) Deb Lundin
Sun, 13 June 2010 03:47:36 +0000

This book is very much like my 42 year friendship with 10 of my Purdue AOPi sorority sister pledge class. We, too, have a yearly reunion but usually at a large farmhouse or mountain retreat as we can be loud with our IPod hooked up to the stereo sharing our music with each other as we dance, eat, drink wine, laugh, cry and look at old photos. The therapy is wonderful. We are all 60 years old now and have experienced loss of a child, loss of many parents, loss of a spouse to cancer, a couple divorces, breast cancer and colon cancer. We are still here and email regularly. We are planning our next trip. Most of us have read your book.

(414) Kris
Sat, 12 June 2010 19:17:18 +0000

I just finished reading the book and felt it was a very moving.. I moved to Ames in 1990 my senior year in high school. My sister and I attended Gilbert High School which is just north of Ames. During that first semester we met Sara who became a very close friend of ours. This year we celebrated our 20 year friendship by having a girls wkend. After reading this book it made me appreciate the friendship that we have with her. She is our sister. Friendship is the most wonderful thing!

(413) Angie French-Jaques
Wed, 9 June 2010 01:11:46 +0000

After reading through half of the book, I started to think about how I am looking forward to two of my childhood girlfriends coming back to our hometown this weekend. During our lunch date, I intend to give them both a copy of this book...

From what I remember, we were a typical threesome in that we were the best of friends, always deciding which of the two were closest. As life sometimes goes, Anne's family moved away after fourth grade and we lost touch until she came back for a very short visit around seventh grade. We then completely lost touch until we reconnected on Facebook last year... Anne made it back for a visit last month and it was if she and I had never lost touch. I can only imagine how magnified it would have been if Michelle had been able to join us. (They are meeting in Omaha this week and driving back to Davenport, IA for a get-together with other childhood friends-- I am so excited, yet envious!) While I won't be able to see them much this weekend, I have no doubt that this will not be a last visit now that we can communicate in so many ways.

It was so enlightening to read this book and know that sisterhoods can be big or small, life-long bonds. Bless all of you and your loved ones for making this book possible!

(412) Missy Gillette
Tue, 8 June 2010 15:32:58 +0000

A couple of weeks ago, my husband and I were at the library each looking for a good book to take on vacation. I enjoy autobiographies, but hadn't found a book that had sparked my interest. My husband was helping my search, when he came across "The Girls from Ames"; he said, "how about this one, it looks like you and your friends". I took the book, flipped through a couple of the pages, looked at the pictures and wa-la...this was it! I could totally relate when I saw the pictures of your hair and the clothes you all were wearing, I knew we all must be around the same age.

I haven't finished the book yet. When I get to close to finishing a good book, I like to savor the last few chapters, because I sometimes get sad when I finish...that means the story ends. I absolutely love that there's a website with pictures and a video.

There were seven us of girls growing up from birth to present. The only difference was, we were also first and second cousins growing up together in Southeast Oklahoma. We had a club house and bicycle gang. We were dancers, we performed in the local talent shows, at the county fair, and at nursing homes. We were very adventurous girls, riding miles and miles on our bikes to the nearest watering hole. We pulled a few pranks as kids, some were not so nice. As we made our way through high school, we made new friends, but we always stayed close to our circle.

Today we are all in our 40's, similar life experiences, although we have never had to deal with losing a friend or child. Three years ago, we made a decision to all meet up in Dallas at Tessa's house for the weekend. We usually see each other at our family Christmas party, fall quilting, or campout in June, but it's not exclusive to just us and not everybody makes it to the other family events throughout the year, so this was special. We have since met up for a weekend with just us girls, rotating the hostess and place. Last year I hosted here in San Antonio. This year, my cousin Tracy will host in Durant, OK. We now call it "Chic-cation" and it's just us girls. We have the best time laughing, cutting up, getting ready to go out on the town and when Sunday comes, we're all sad to leave one another, but can't wait to see all the pictures of the moments we captured over the weekend.

This year I will buy the book and take it to chication, as we have started bringing gifts for the gift basket for the host. I can't wait to see the girls and tell them about this book. It's a must read!

Thank you for sharing your life experiences. I appreciate each one of you for who you are and allowing each reader, a complete stranger, to connect with you.

All the best to "the girls from Ames",
Missy Gillette

(411) Kimberly Bruhn
Mon, 7 June 2010 05:37:24 +0000

Hello from Ashland, Oregon.

I had to write you (both you ladies and Mr. Zaslow)as soon as I noticed the contact information at the back of your book. Literally, I finished reading (and am still crying, a bit) and ran upstairs to jot you a line.

To say that I can relate to many of your stories is an incredible understatement. I, too, graduated in 1981. I don't have a "group" of friends, unfortunately, but I do have a friend who's been there for me since I first moved to this small town in kindergarten. Tracy was this pixie-like blond girl and I felt a connection with her that's stayed with us for more than 42 years! Our story has a familiar tinge of all the Ames' girl's storied. Tracy had her breast removed when we were 37. My son, Michael, was diagnosed with ALL (Acute lymphocytic leukemia) in 2008. His prognosis is good, although he has an additional year of treatment(s) yet. I was one of the youngest lobbyists in the State of Oregon (a million years ago)and I am continuing, at this time, to pursue my career as a stay-at-home mother. Tracy thought she might be a famous artist (she's really good)and instead has focused her life on her two children and has been blessed to merge her love of color, art and expression in quilting (she was always better than me at geometry, dang it!) Anyho, that's a bit of our story and although it's definitely not as comprehensive as your wonderful momento, I HAD to tell you that I was truly touched by our similarities. As a strong believer, I know there was a reason for me to pick up this book at the local library and I know it wasn't merely a coincidence...God doesn't make those. Thanks for the memories!

(410) JoBeth Davis
Mon, 7 June 2010 02:27:03 +0000

I was presented with this book as a present from my best friend shortly after our graduation from the Journalism School at the University of Missouri. She was returning home to New Mexico while I was remaining in Columbia to apply for jobs. Other friends made their way back to Kansas City, St. Louis, and we were scattered across the country in what felt like an instant.

After going through the emotional roller-coaster rode of this book with the same friend, I feel so much better knowing that bonds like ours can keep growing even though we've been stretched apart for now.

All I can say is to these girls and the author...thank you.

You've given me hope and yet another reason to love life at a time when there's so much uncertainty about the future.

Best wishes.

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