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.
(259) Denise E.
Sat, 5 September 2009 21:19:50 +0000

I just finished The Girls from Ames. I read The Last Lecture last summer, as part of my daughter's high school, "One Book One Community" summer assignment. Suffice it to say, that you should trust I will read anything you collaborate on from this point forward.

Your writing brought me close to the Ames girls in a way that I would not have imagined. There were moments when I sighed aloud; gasped due to their heart ache, smiled with their joy. I found myself thumbing back and forth through the pages, looking at their childhood pictures and comparing them to those more recent. I would sit and ponder one of their "stories", thinking about the chronology of time; comparing their experiences to my own. You, and they each, have touched my heart.

I find myself now wondering, "How are Kelly and Angela doing?" I hope they are faring well. I think about Karla watching her children pass through the stages of life that were robbed of Christie. I think about Sally, Marilyn, Jane, Jenny, Diana, Karen, and Cathy. I think about who Sheila would have become; she had so much to give and was such an interesting young woman. I want to keep track of these fabulous women :).

I am the wife of a native Iowan, about 10 years older than the "girls". My husband, daughter and I live in California. But, I now feel that much closer to my extended family who remain in Mason City, Iowa.

So I write you today to thank you for your gift of of being able to write from your heart. You have certainly touched mine.

(258) Phyllis Case Buckley
Sat, 5 September 2009 19:57:47 +0000

The Girls from Iowa Falls grew up fifty miles away from the Girls from Ames, and fifteen years earlier. But there is something about growing up in Iowa that sets people apart, that instills pride of being nurtured in the heartland of America where the rich black soil and family values run deep. There is an openness between people as wide as the blue skies of the horizon..a tell-everything want-to-know-everything talk-to-anyone openness. There is a dependence on others...starting with the farmers on whom everything in Iowa depends, and in return, on those on whom the farmer depends. That rich loamy farmland produces bountiful crops...and good people...good people who come from good families and make good friends. The Girls from Iowa Falls now live in North Carolina, Las Vegas, Iowa City, and yes, Iowa Falls. And our story holds many parallels to the Girls from Ames. We still scoop the loop down Main Street, go to the Princess for a Green River, ride down River Road at night in our dreams...and cherish the girls we once were, and the women we have become. Perhaps it is because I was a Girl from Iowa Falls that I have been blessed with a multitude of deep and lasting relationships in my life. The Girls from Clarion (PA) helped me keep my sanity, raise my children, and give me perspective. And the Girls from North Carolina (my precious daughter, my sweet daughter-in-law, and my wise mother-in-law) have helped me realize the sanctity of each new day and the gifts it brings. I applaud all women everywhere and the "girls" who made them who they are today!!!

(257) Sarah
Sat, 5 September 2009 03:34:21 +0000

My friend of 32 years (we met when 3 in preschool) gave me this book for my 35th birthday. We are part of a 4-girl group who have been friends for about 30 years. The honesty, sincerety and connection is just as described in this book! There's something about our old friends that makes us feel we can pick up right where we left off - and, most importantly, we can always be ourselves. We "35-Year-Old Mamas" are a tried and true support system that yields lots of advice, insight and laughs. Thanks for sharing the Ames Girls story - it brings back many good memories and a true perspective of how important our original friendships can be!

(256) rose
Sat, 5 September 2009 03:27:47 +0000

I just finished reading 'The Girls from Ames" and loved every minute of it. I am part of a group of 7 women who have been friends since living on the same floor at college. We call ourselves 'the chicas' - several of the girls spent a trimester in Central American countries. After October 2009 we will have all turned 60 and are planning a trip together after Christmas. I could so relate to the many stories shared in the book - laughing until we wet our pants, crying together, losing mothers and fathers, children growing up, etc. I do have other friends from church, quilt guild, volunteering, but these are the 'real' friends who will always be there. Most of the girls live in Indiana, one in Ohio, and one in Pennsylvania. When we get together we just pick up where we left off the last time - a most comforting and loving relationship.

(255) Meegan
Thu, 3 September 2009 19:26:23 +0000

I didn't have the advantage of having a large group of women friends when I was younger, but I wish I did. After reading this story I understand more how the power of friendships is so essential and vital to a woman's life, more so in adulthood. Those connections that are established and nurtured so early on in life help women deal with so many facets of their lives.

I have a connection to Iowa in that I graduated from the University of Iowa in 1987, about the time some of the girls from Ames were there. I attended parties at the college in Ames and so could relate to some of the ideas presented in the book as well as the locations.

I truly enjoyed this inspirational story about these women.

(254) Laura
Thu, 3 September 2009 03:41:14 +0000

This book is a gift. Thank you Jeff for putting so many wonderful lives together in such a way that their intermingledness came through so well.

I didn't have the pleasure of a group of friends from childhood but I have been gathering the best group of ladies as my "girlfriends" since college. Most of them don't know each other but they are all stars in my own solar system and each one has a connection to me that encompasses a special chapter in my life.

Thank you for thinking the treasure of friendship among women was worth writing about and done in such a way that really showed the incredible bonds that withstand the miles, time, and all that life dishes out.

I plan to purchase a copy of this book for each of my girlfriends and remind them how much they mean to me.


(253) Shirley
Sun, 30 August 2009 22:05:21 +0000

I heard about this book on a public radio station and knew I had to read it. We are a group of 8 who have been together , since grammer school and all graduated from high school in 1959. We all went to college and kept connected through letter writing. At our 20th high school reunion we decided that we must have our own annual reunions every year (sometimes twice a year) and have done so ever since. We have taken trips all together and been a support system for each other over the years. We have been through cancer, suicide, early death,,divorce and these remarkable women have prevailed. Our bonds are very strong and we love each other like sisters. We are from upper New York State and today live in 5 other states beside upper New York. We have shared a lifetime together, and our secrets remain within us.We have been meeting annually over 25 years, and still talk until the wee hours. We feel so fortunate for these strong bonds on long friendship.

(252) Karen T.
Fri, 28 August 2009 18:16:36 +0000

My one friend heard about your book and recommended that we suggest to all of our husbands to purchase it for Mother's Day for us (which we all did). I am so glad she did, I just finished reading your book and it reminded me so much of the friendship with my girlfriends. We called ourselves, and sometimes still do, "The Chicks of 86." We were a group of 13 girls from Palisades Park, NJ who graduated in 1986. Ten out of the thirteen of us remain friends to this day (2 were never really "Chicks" and another strayed from the group in our 20's). Fortunately for us, all except two of us, remain living in NJ. Although we haven't had to go through many of the hardships that "The Shitsisters" endured, such as divorce (even though some of us, including myself, came close), losing a friend, losing a child (besides miscarriages) or having to see any of us go through a disease, such as cancer, our deep bond of friendship is very similar to yours. Thank you for sharing your story and given us just another thing we can bond over. I am now passing it along to my mother, who also has a similar bond with her friends from grammar school and high school.

(251) J Joshi
Fri, 28 August 2009 03:01:57 +0000

I just finished reading the book. I mostly started the book because I too have roots in Ames. Who doesn't like to read and hear things about home?
My mom and dad went to Ames High and some of the other schools you mentioned. My dad lived near the high school and would walk to school until he got his license, then he drove even though he was only blocks away. My mom, dad, aunt, and uncles all saw Dr. McCormack. My dad has told me stories about taco time, the train tracks on Lincoln Way and other hangouts, some the same you mentioned in your story and even a few parties in the corn fields and in college I too got to experience those.
I especially loved the relationships you shared about your mothers and the mothers you have become. My mom passed away to cancer when I was three so I really feel like your book gave me some insight to her life as she was there in that time frame. If felt your book shared a bit of the juicy stuff of life in that time like a mother may tell her own child.
Best wishes to every one of you and thank you so much for sharing.

(250) Jessica
Thu, 27 August 2009 17:27:46 +0000

I just finished reading your book and found myself at times unable to put it down! I am blessed to have a wonderful group of 17 friends from college. We are 28 now so reading stories about your lives made me wonder what types of challenges our group will face as we grow and build our own families. We do a ladies weekend every November and I loved your idea with the maxipad slippers. Any other gift ideas you could share that you have done over the years? I am trying to think of one to use for this November to start that tradition amongst our group as well.

Thanks for sharing your stories. It was such a beautiful display of friendship.

(249) Pam
Thu, 27 August 2009 16:05:16 +0000

10 Friends from Sharon - also known as the Jewish girls and Pam - our lives are full of ups and downs just like the girls from Ames. What memories your book has brought me. We try to get together but aren't as good as these girls. We do have day long e/m sessions which is great fun. We are having a 50th Birthday High School Reunion this year and everyone will be there. The first time in a long time. I am really looking forward to it. Thank you for sharing your story. It was great!

(248) B Lynn
Thu, 27 August 2009 05:59:32 +0000

While I have had many female friends over the years, my closest friendship dates back to high school. We were seated next to each other in History class and we've had a bond ever since. We graduated in 1988- and while our lives took us in different directions during our 20's (I got married and started a family while she earned 2 college degrees, became a teacher and didn't get married until her early 30's) we reconnected last year (now in our late 30's) and found that we are both in the same place in life again- I am a stay-at-home mother of 3 and she is a stay-at-home mother of 2. The wonderful thing about such deeply bonded friendships is that you can lose touch for a period of time, but once you reconnect it's like you pick up right where you left off. We live on opposite sides of the country now, but we stay in touch by phone and email and are planning on reuniting next summer (2010) to celebrate our 40th birthdys together! Even though there is just the 2 of us, I still related to parts of "The Girls From Ames" in so many ways.

(247) shirley
Wed, 26 August 2009 23:25:56 +0000

My daugher gave me this book to read,she said I would like it, absolutely loved it, you can always find a good book and story if you look hard enough, would recommend this book to anyone (men or women) Thanks again

(246) Anne M
Wed, 26 August 2009 17:20:57 +0000

I loved the book and found myself reminiscing about my high school days. I also graduated in 1981 and tried hard throughout high school and college to work my way into a similar,larger group of girls who had been together for a long time. I was always on the fringe and eventually gave up trying to fit into their circle. Coming from a large family, my Mom always told me that my sisters would be my best friends and so I relied heavily on them for companionship. Perhaps because of this I never really learned how to reach out and make or be a great friend. I now realize that my sisters are sisters and not really the same as best friends. Sure wish I could have a do over! The Ames girls are blessed to have such devoted and caring women in their lives. Thank you to the girls for sharing their extraordinary story and to Mr. Zaslow for his poignant depiction.

(245) Nancy Knutson
Wed, 26 August 2009 04:33:42 +0000

I just completed reading your book, and I feel compelled to tell you how it touched me. My group is an amorphous gathering of women who have know each other from 5 to 35 years. We are mainly around 60, with a mother-daughter team who bracket us in age at 47 and 67. We refer to our joint abilities as "the power of the coven." I think it kind of scares the men!

Some of us golf together, and we are not good. A couple of years ago, I had my first opportunity to par a hole. My three golf partners made a hallway to the hole, and I sunk the putt. We called that the "power of the coven"!

More seriously, I have also had a couple of brushes with cancer, first in 2003, and, most recently, in 2008. I am enjoying great health not, and wish the same for Kelly and Angela. At the time of my diagnoses, my husband of almost 40 years was my rock, but my daily strength came from my women friends. Their words and love supported me, and still do.

Thank you for this book.


Nancy Knutson

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