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.
(544) Mary
Fri, 20 May 2011 12:26:08 +0000

I just finished the book. I don't have 11 friends from my childhood; I have the class of 79! I shared my favorite quote from the book on Facebook with my class mates. "It's amazing you choose to spend so much time with people you knew when you were young. What keeps me going back to them? What is it I don't want to sever? I think it's this: We root each other to the core of who we are, rather than what defines us as adults -- by careers or spouses or kids. There's a young girl in each of us who is still full of life. When we're together, I try to remember that." Though we are male and female alike, this resonates throughout our group, whether it's 14 or 40, 1 year or 5 years between visits, we laugh, we cry, we reunite every time. I credit them for what and who I am today and I will always be grateful and love them for it! Thanks for sharing.

(543) Toni Massey
Tue, 17 May 2011 11:59:37 +0000

Just finished your book. How ironic that I saw last week on the Today show that Ames, Iowa is one of the 10 best places to retire. So maybe you should all think about finding that place in Ames where you can all "retire and rock"! Who says we can't go back home?

This story resonates with me as six of us "'72 girls" from a small town near Raleigh, NC reunited during the year of our 50th birhtdays. We laughed and cried all weekend during that April 2004 gathering. We still felt connected, were able to be totally at ease with outselves and each other, and now try to get together about 3 times a year. We are scattered in cities around North Carolina.

May I suggest an all inclusive trip to Cancun for a 50th reunion for you all. You have a couple of years to save up and it really ends up an affordable trip.

Look forward to future updates and God's blessing for each of you. Keep up the connections as in any relationship, it is work! Our "girls of '72" have to "drop everything and reunite."

(542) Marsha Drew
Tue, 17 May 2011 01:20:19 +0000

Dear Girls from Ames and Jeff,

I am a Girl from Smiths Falls who like the girls from Ames shares a remarkable friendship with 11 friends from my little home town of 9000. We were born in 1966 and have begun to pass the book around after the sister of one our friends said you have to read this book they remind me of you girls.
I am the third one of the group to have read the book and I am totally enthralled by your story. We have been discussing which one of us best matches the girls from Ames.
It has been a complete and utter joy to read your story and to laugh and cry with you girls. Our lives parallel your lives in so many ways. It is so heartwarming to read a story about the bonds of love and trust that exist between women. When we are together we are middle- aged women who turn back into the girls of our youth. We are still those little girls playing dress up for real now.
We call ourselves the Birds and we were known in high school as the ding bats. We have been together in hearts and soul for over forty years as well.
Jeff thank-you for writing this story and describing this bond between females. It is so nice to hear stories about women being loving and kind to each other not competitive and mean.
To quote Stephen King
" I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12- Jesus, did you? " The Body ( Stand by Me)
That line still resonates to my soul and now the Girls of Ames has too.
I am going to make sure that all 11 of us read this book.
Thank-you for sharing your heart warming story.
I am grateful for the bonds that I share with my Birds and I think this book made me realize even more, that what we have in each other can never be replaced. Even though I haven't met you girls I now feel like I have bond with you all too.

(541) Sue Gaston
Mon, 16 May 2011 00:26:06 +0000

I have my own group of Girls from Ames - my college sorority sisters from Iowa State University in the late 1960s. We've stayed in touch, and have reunions every 3-4 years. We do an annual Christmas letter and just like the Ames girls, stay in touch more often now by email. Just saw my group in April 2011, where we stayed together at the Iowa House bed and breakfast just south of campus. Was like old times - we just pick up where we left off each time we get together.
Came home and reread The Girls from Ames for my local library book club. I'd first read it about a year ago, and recommended it to the group. Loved it as much on second reading at on first. Looking forward to our discussion tomorrow night.
Keep your friends close, nurture those friendships, and you will see only rewards.

(540) Evelyn M. DeArmond
Sun, 15 May 2011 16:04:42 +0000

I just finished this book this morning around 4:30am because I could not put it down until I found out what happened to each of these women and their children. I so enjoyed the book as I found it to be a book the encourages each of us to be a better friend to be strong in the face of adversity and to be there when things go drastically bad. I will be 54 on May 18th and I must say that I truly do not have a friend such as these women shared in this book. I do have many friends but not such as these women have and it just so blesses my heart. I cried and laughed with each story that was told and I will always remember how each that when trials came along how each woman just made themselves available for the one that needed them the most at any given time. I must say this was truly an incredible story and I am so glad that I picked it at Borders, in Harrisburg PA. I would really like to know how each of you are doing and I will certainly keep each of you in my thoughts and prayers. Thank you for sharing your lives with us because I know that you truly touched my heart. God Bless you all, Evelyn.

(539) Heidi Schultz
Fri, 29 April 2011 14:19:59 +0000

I found your book this past January and immediately texted our group of 8 high school friends listing the title and author saying, "These girls sound so much like us! Let's read it and discuss it when we get together in the spring..." The others were game, and although we've chatted briefly about it since, we plan to share our thoughts tonight when we reunite over several glasses of wine.

We are all in our 30's, so the Ames Girls were about 10 years ahead of us. Still, so many excerpts paralleled our lives and interactions. Thier Midwestern values were much like those on which we were raised on grwoing up in rural Kansas. Furthermore, their story provided a glimpse into what lies ahead.

Amongst our group perhaps what is most unique is that all of us are still married to our original husbands. (One friend has remained single). Two of us even celebrate 17 year wedding anniversaries this summer!

I am giddy with excitement today as I prepare to travel to Nebraska this afternoon for this year's reunion. Much like the Ames girls, "This reunion... is just another step on a journey of friendship that should take (us) to the end of our lives."

(538) Taylor Jackson
Tue, 26 April 2011 21:29:15 +0000

I just finished the book, and let me say I was on that rollercoaster of life with you. I cried, I laughed and for the most part I compared your experiences and relationships to my own. I loved you explaination for the expectations of friendships later in life and the dissapointment in those because nothing compares to the connection you have with the girls from your childhood. I feel like that hit home more than anything in the book as I feel like I am living through those failed expectations of current friends right now. I wish you and all your children all the best in life! Thanks for the inspiration and a reminder to cherish your girlfriends always.

(537) Hollie
Mon, 25 April 2011 21:04:18 +0000

I just finished the book for my book club! One girl in my club has been my friend for over 50 years! I connected with the unconditional love that you have for a long time friend. I connected with what you girls watched with Christie. I have a coworker whose daughter was diagnosed with the same thing and went through that with her. Tiffany was diagnosed at age 14 and died at 17 years old. There were so many other things that bring so much back. I am praying for Angela and Kelly that they are restored to good health! Thank you for a wonderful book.

(536) Shannon Brooks
Wed, 20 April 2011 17:15:33 +0000

My friends and I are reading this book for our book club. We are in our mid 30's and most of us have been friends since our teens. Your book brought so much emotion out in me and the love I have for my friends. The girls form Ames and us have so many similarities clear down to the child with AML, he lost his battle in 2010 and because of that and our love for each other we have new bonds and have vowed that will stay connected and in touch always. Thanks for telling your story.

(535) Vanessa Fontana
Tue, 19 April 2011 04:35:27 +0000

After reading the first page, I bought A copy for my mom, and her best friend, as well as copies for my best friends. I knew that this was going to be a story we should all be reading together. This story is so relatable, and touching. Beautiful work!

(534) Jill M. Beaty
Mon, 18 April 2011 21:10:12 +0000

I'm so reminded of my high school gang, my very best friends. We graduated in 1981 as well, with one "adoptee" from 1984. Thank you for sharing your joys, your tears, and your lives with us! I'm sending this book to my gal pals this week.

Am I crazy? I was so gripped by the grad pics of Marilyn, Sheila, Cathy, and Karla that I went looking for them in my many faces and memories. Obviously, I didn't find them in my yearbooks (Milwaukee school), but I can't fight the feeling that I've seen these pictures before!!

Love to all the Women From Ames!

(533) Molly
Mon, 18 April 2011 20:59:53 +0000

I just finished reading the book and fell in love. It was very euphoric because I have the same background. I have a group of friends that have been there every step of the way. We are from a town outside Chicago in Illinois. I especially got a kick out of the parties in the cornfields because we did the same except in the forest. We are all in our mid twenties now and going through the struggles of staying young while leaping into marriage and adulthood. While reading the story I wrote notes to all my girlfriends. I am now passing along to the others to read and enjoy. Thank you!

(532) Dominica
Fri, 15 April 2011 04:31:32 +0000

Reading the book was more like a short journey in someone else's life. I loved it. However, I am an Egyptian woman who got really offended at the end of the book when Egyptian women were described as submissive. Seriously going on a boat with an older man for a "job interview"!! Who is being submissive and naive here?! Please no need to generalize and stereotype others to cover our flaws.

(531) Catherine
Thu, 14 April 2011 21:35:31 +0000


As the daughter of a woman who has needed her friends during lifes up and downs, I always saw how important it was to keep girlfriends in your life. The "ya-yas" as my mom's group calls themselves, met over 30 years ago as freshman in college. Together, they have buried two husbands, have gone through one divorce, and have buried parents. Through it all, they have relied on each other. Growing up, my strongest memories are the fun that we "ya-ya-yettes" would have on our summer vacations and weeks. As a grown woman myself, I now appreicate thier friendship more for its strength and staying power than for its countless reunions, bottles of wine, and laughs.

As the first "ya-ya-yette", I am moved by how strong and intelligent these women are, and feel so lucky to count them as part of my extended family. I have one mother, and five ya-yas, all who have touched me in thier own pesonal way, either through a personal experience or the friendship that I have seem them give to my mother.

FAST FORWARD to 2004, when I met my ya-yas. We are a group of 10 that met in our sorority. We get together at least once a year for our annual reunion, but now, as we are untied by children, we get together many more times a year. We are in the very exciting stage of engagements and weddings. It is a thrill to see these girls I love meet and marry the men they love, and I look forward to meeting all of our future children. After reading your book, I know, that, in a group of 10, we are bound to experience heartache. But, as the ya-yas, and you all have proven to me, everything in life is capable of being lived through, you just need girlfriends and a few bottles of wine.

Cheers to you all and your health and happiness!

(530) Kathie Ferkin
Mon, 4 April 2011 15:55:00 +0000

I am so moved by your stories! I feel like have 10 new friends. I went away for a weekend during my reading and felt terrible leaving you at home. I am one of "the girls of '64." We are a group over about 20 who reconnected after being out of Orange High School in California after 35 years. We meet once a year and are enjoying becoming close in our later years. Some are getting brave and sharing stories from the past! I appreciate your honesty so much. Cathy, if you ever want to meet for lunch, I'm game. Karla, we go to Anaconda every year, my husband's hometown. It's very much like Orange. Would gladly drive to Bozeman to meet you some time. Be healthy and take care.

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