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.
(364) Paula
Sun, 21 March 2010 21:02:24 +0000

I grew up in a small rural community with a population consisting of about 5600 residents. There were ten of us that became the very best of friends. We still have mini reunions quite often. This book just took me back to wonderful times growing up. We lost our first friend this past year to cancer. It has affected us all in so many ways. Another friend just lost her husband. I feel so blessed to have such a support group. We are so much like the girls from Ames. We laugh, cry, fight and love each other and have for many years. Nothing can ever break the bond of true friendship. We are a family of dearest friends and will always be. What a wonderful book. I listed "The Girls" from my hometown in the front of my copy. I plan to re-read this book many, many times.

(363) Amy
Fri, 19 March 2010 04:20:16 +0000

I grew up in Ames & had a group of 10 of the best friends a girl could ever have. This book touched my heart to the core for so many reasons. I was so fortunate to live in Ames, it's a very special place to me. So for that reason alone- this book was amazing. I could completely identify with everything these women went through and they ways in which they met is so eerily similar that it was almost scary!
My "Ames" girls and I have been passing the book to one another and writing a passage to each other as each one finishes the book. We are all living all across the country now & I'm so glad that someone wrote this book b/c we've never felt closer to each other b/c of it. Thanks so much!!!

(362) Linda Reilly
Wed, 17 March 2010 17:29:15 +0000

I absolutely loved this book. I have two groups. My Andalusia Girls Club - we have 16 members (one now deceased) and have been together for 25 years. We all live in the same neighborhood and all our children are the same age. One year, 9 of us had high school graduates. We get together once a month and take a yearly trip to the Jersey Shore. This group is incredibly special to me. They were there for me during my husband's battle with cancer and especially after his death in 1999, which brings me to my other group. This group is my support group friends. We came together in 1999 at a support group meeting after all our husbands passed away and are still the best of friends after 10 years. Some of the group have come into our lives and gone out but 6 of us are still going strong. We have done so many things together. We have taken many many trips, had New Jersey summer shore houses together, and have spent countless hours just being with each other filling the void of losing our husbands. And, to make things even more unbelievable, my path has crossed before with each one of them and didn't even realize it. One of the girls even took care of my husband in the hospital and her husband actually died less than a month before mine. I never saw her at the hospital but did talk to her on the phone. We realized this at a meeting one night. Another one grew up in my neighborhood but was 4 years older than me and went to Catholic school so we didn't really know each other. Absolutely incredible. I don't know where I would be without this group today. They have filled an incredible void in my life that was left after my husband died. I was the organizer of everything but without them being there to organize our outings, I don't know what I would be doing. We all realized that there is life after a death but we needed each other to have this life with. I love each and every one of them (both groups). I'm a very lucky person and blessed beyond words.

(361) Erin
Tue, 16 March 2010 21:23:59 +0000

I finished reading this book last night and sobbed. Even though I so strongly wanted to write about how it affected me, it's difficult to put into words. In my group there are nine - we call ourselves The Sugars. We met in graduate school (so have only been friends for about 10 years) and now live in seven different cities. We get together about once a year (I just visited with the 3 in St. Louis and couldn't stop talking about this book!) and have a new "set-in-stone" reunion date each July (this is the first year). We have had our ups and downs but would die for each other.

I loved reading the book because I saw myself and so many of the others in the girls from Ames. I can't wait for all my friends to read it and get to know the girls from Ames, and themselves, in the process.

Thank you for telling us your story and sharing your dark and sunny days. I feel so lucky to have a group of wonderful female friends.

(360) Kelly
Tue, 16 March 2010 18:09:30 +0000

My mom gave me this book over the weekend. She thought I would enjoy it as I am the same age as these ladies and grew up in a town 40 miles North of Ames. I read the whole book in 2 days.

I cant help but wonder if I was standing next to them at the Springsteen concert or at any of the other numerous places mentioned in the book that were so familiar to me.

Enjoy as my mom said, didnt even touch it. I loved this book. I loved the girls. They remind me of my group of friends that I grew up with. But while I still see them at class reunions and do talk on face book, we dont get together like these girls do. I sure wish we did. I am sending them all copies and hope, that after they read it, we will get something together soon.

Thank you for this and thank you girls from Ames. You guys Rock. And if we had lived in Ames instead of Webster City, Iowa. I hope I would have been blessed to be in your circle of friends.

(359) misti chastain
Tue, 16 March 2010 17:51:41 +0000

I just wanted to say after reading this book it made me think that I am so lucky to have two friends who are there for me. I just wanted to say to the women in Ames that I think they are so brave.

(358) Judy Stephenson
Mon, 15 March 2010 22:14:17 +0000

My group of friends are older than this book talks about, but many similarities.

Our "Careyville" friends were all born in 1943, met in Kindergarden,and 2nd grade in Hutchinson Kansas. We are all turning 67 years old this year and still get together every year.
We are meeting in Naples, Fl in April 2010.
We have had one of the original friends die a couple years ago.
We have lots of fun and having known each other for so long with great memories and create new ones every year. Two years ago, we all met in Winter Park, Colorado.

Some of us live in Kansas, some in Colorado, some in Naples, Fl. and some at Lake Ozarks, Mo.

(357) Marcy
Thu, 11 March 2010 04:02:13 +0000

My 8 high school girlfriends and I just got back from a trip to Mexico. We were celebrating two things:
1) Turning 50!
2) Being friends after all these years.
As a matter of fact, my friend Ann gave each of us this book for the trip. It was the "must read" book of the week-end. Through-out the week-end, someone would look up from the book and say "Oh my God, they're just like us!".We have also had our fair share of heartache and loss, but through-out it all, we have stood by each other and "had each others back". How comforting to know, at the age of 50, that there are 8 girls who support me no matter who am I or what I do. They always, always, always, have my back. While you thought you were writing about the girls from Ames, you were really writing about the girls from Robbinsdale. Thank you for writing "our" story, and for giving us a forum to re-visit the past.

(356) Linda
Wed, 10 March 2010 22:38:18 +0000

I began to read The Girls from Ames on a flight Monday. It was absolutely the best and worst book I could have chosen, as I was traveling to the funeral of a friend's toddler, half a country away.

I have a very close group of ten friends; we share the common bond of a child born in January 2006, and all of us have 3 or more children. Dubbed the "moms of many," we have 42 children among us.

This will sound strange, but the ten of us were friends for three years before any of us met each other. We met in an online "birth club" and formed a close online friendship. Since we formed a private group three years ago, more than 23,000 messages have flown back and forth between us.

Occasionally, some of us have had "meetups" so that now all but one of us has met at least one of the others.

We come from all different backgrounds: jobs, locations, religion, family history. We talk about everything; it's just online instead of in person.

One of the hardest things I had to do was to call one of my best friends (whom I've never met or spoken to) last week to tell her that another (whom I've never met or spoken to either) had lost her little one. We cried together, and made arrangements to support our dear friend.

And so it is that I flew from Minnesota to Alabama for the funeral of a dear little girl, and hugged these best friends whom I'd never met.

Our families "get" our friendship now more than ever. We've shared many things before, but now tragedy has entered our lives and we will continue to be there for each other.

(355) Sheryl
Wed, 10 March 2010 19:08:16 +0000

I really enjoyed the book. I have had numerous women friends in my life and I agree that women's relationships are essential.

I want to commend Jeffrey Zaslow, author for a beautifully written tribute to women.

I was given the book as a gift. The giver was pleased to find a book from IA even though I was from KS. (Iowa-Kansas, close enough was her response)


(354) Victoria Ugarte, Postcards From Millie
Wed, 10 March 2010 02:04:35 +0000

Last week I turned 50. Yep, the big "5-Oh".

Nope, I didn't hide under my bed or check the mirror to see if I could spot any more wrinkles, or go through any of the predicted trauma that comes with this milestone.

What I did engage in was a lot of reflection.

One of the things that I reflected on, interestingly enough, were the relationships that I had with my female buddies throughout my life and how the dynamics changed as I got older.

As a child, my best friend was my cousin, Ines. We not only went to school together, but we spent practically every waking moment with each other, playing "pretend" in a fantasy world of our own creation. I was traumatized when she moved with her family to the United States when I was only 9 years old. In a sense I had lost my world.

At the age of 8, I formed a lifelong friendship with my cousins in Madrid, Paloma and Elena (pictured with me above).
These early childhood friendships with my female cousins were not only good for me, they were vital for my emotional development, and they seemed to come efortlessly to me.

In my early adolescent years, I distinctly remember my awesome school friends in Manila, Philippines. We'd chatter at lunch and recess about nothing, passed each other notes during class, then rang each other up when we got home to speak for hours again about boys, teachers, the weekend, you name it. We'd paint each others' nails, pluck each others' eyebrows and share each others' secrets.

My mid to late teenage years saw us move as a family to Sydney, Australia. With my new group of school buddies I discovered the beach culture of that glorious one kilometer stretch of golden sand called Bondi Beach. There my girlfriends and I hung out, swam, gossiped and met boys from Waverley College and Cranbrook from morning till night.

By the time my 20's arrived, I may have had plenty of girlfriends, but we had become more guarded and competitive with each other. Already a young Mum at 23, priorities such as family and career had well and truly taken over by the age of 30.

By 41 I had been married and divorced, and although I was in desperate need of the nourishing and support only a girlfriend could give, I had trouble working out who my best girlfriends were.

It was interesting for me to observe that the older I became, the more I downplayed the importance of friendships with other women as I increasingly viewed it as more of an indulgence. But in doing so, I had robbed myself of the nurturing, strength and support that I could have tapped into when I hit the rough patches in my life.

Scientific Research
There is now a scientific research to back up the fact that female friendships not only make women feel good but relieve the pressures of daily living, lowers women's stress levels and ultimately prolongs her life! *

* A landmark UCLA study entitled, " Female Responses To Stress: Tend and Befriend, Not Fight or Flight" suggests that friendships between women are not only special, but they shape who the women are and who they are yet to be. Dr. L.C. Klein, one of the researchers, attributes this to a hormone that gets released called Oxytocin as part of the stress responses in a woman which buffers the "˜fight or flight' response and encourages her to "tend to children and gather with other women instead". When a woman engages in the tending or befriending behavior, Dr. Klein suggests that her body releases more Oxytocin, which further counters stress and produces a calming effect.

So ladies, my message to you as I clock up a half century is that friendships with other women in your life is vital for your well being as a woman. But like anything precious, it does require nurturing to thrive. So do set the time aside each week to communicate, hang out, spend time with other women, be it your Sister, Mother, girlfriend or a great woman you have just met. It's good for you and an ideal way to bring the balance of mind, body, and spirit back into your lives.


(353) Kate
Sun, 7 March 2010 16:50:49 +0000

After reading this book, and seeing the research on women and their ability to keep friends, I realized that my best friend and I have become the positive side of this.

My best friend, Whitney, and I have been through our entire lives together, starting in preschool at age 3. We've been friends almost 21 years now, and it's been an amazing ride! To my knowledge, we've been fortunate enough to only have two major fights, which ended with us not talking for a while. Everything worked out because we're still talking, sharing, learning. I always call her when I need to know something about myself because she knows me better than anyone. When we graduated high school, we went our separate ways; she went to a JC in Colorado and I went to a CC in Kansas. We've kept in touch by email, text, and IMing, and we've told each other everything about our lives, just like the girls from Ames.

I have compared the Ames women's relationships with mine and Whit's, and I see similarities. I also think Whitney and I need to start having reunions just like the ladies from Ames.

This book is an inspiration to me, and I hope it will be to Whitney too. Thank you for telling your amazing story. --Kate

(352) Jessica
Wed, 3 March 2010 23:48:38 +0000

I picked this off the shelf at the library, needing something to read on a business trip and not knowing anything about the book. The title attracted me because, I have a close group of friends from my childhood and I too grew up in a college town in Iowa - Iowa City.

The women in the Girls from Ames are about 10 years older than my group of 5, but the experiences are similiar. Being from Iowa I related to many of the references and the pleasure of being raised in a very wholesome and safe place.

The Girls from Iowa City gather annually. We are in the midst of raising our young families and often are pumping or pregnant. We share many of the same laughs and certainly the tears. I just loved the book and will be mailing copies of the paperback to my 4 "sisters".

Thank you to each women for sharing her personal and poignant story. It made me appreciate my group even more. Thank you!

(351) Sara H
Fri, 26 February 2010 21:16:17 +0000

"The girls from Ames" is a book that really touches me deep inside. It brought me to my knees several times in the course of reading it- not only reading about the stories as they pertained to the women in the book but also because I couldn't help but imagine myself and my incredible friends in the same circumstances. Anyone who knows me knows of my amazing friends and how they are such an integral part of who I am. We met our first year of college and have been going strong for 15 years. When it feels as though everything is conspiring against me, a weekend with my girls helps to put life back in perspective and lifts me back up. I've made a wonderful life with my husband and children but a part of me will always consider them "home." It's a joke with us how our once-a-year "official" girls weekend has turned into an "official" winter and summer girls weekend with several "unofficial" girls weekends crammed into wherever we can fit them. They also seem to be growing in length... Now that we are all mommies to little girls (9 out of 12 of our children are girls!), we've started to do Mommy/Daughter weekends too. The first year we did it, we had 9 little girls with the oldest just turned 5 and the youngest being just 1. We started a strong foundation for our children in the hopes that they will be able to develop friendships just as meaningful to them as ours are to us. I love you JLC!

(350) Linda O
Thu, 25 February 2010 21:21:00 +0000

I just finished the book and loved it. Was a wonderful reminder of the importance of all my special girlfriends! I am fortunate to have kept up close relationships with most of my high school friends; we recently enjoyed our 30-year reunion. In addition, I am one of a group of 11 women in a "mothers of twins" club; we have had "meetings" for well over 20 years now and still meet for dinner monthly. I am so blessed and the book reminded me of that.

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