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.
(109) Elizabeth Kelly Johnson
Mon, 1 June 2009 17:06:05 +0000

I have greatly enjoyed reading The Girls from Ames. It has brought me back through my 28 years of life to the origins of my friendships with my "Chisholm girls." I am from a small Iron Range town in Minnesota and have been a part of a group of girl friends that began to form when I was born. All eight of us plan to read the Girls from Ames. My friend Tina gave it to me for my graduate school graduation and I plan to pass it around to each girl (now woman). These women have shaped my life and shared my life. I hope that we will remain close-knit and strong, just as the Ames girls did and still do. Thank you for writing such a wonderful tale and thank you to the girls from Ames for opening your lives and sharing your stories. You have touched me and motivated me to continue to work hard at maintaining and strengthening our friendship bonds.

(108) Erin Alexander
Sun, 31 May 2009 05:54:03 +0000


I have belonged to a bunko group since 1991. We have shared many events including a down syndrome baby, a divorce, breast cancer, childrens' illnesses, job layoffs and just the ordinary, every day events. Sharing with other women makes it so much easier to cope sometimes. We females are blessed, as your research in the book points out, to have these kind of relationships in our lives.

Thank you for writing this book and allowing so many of us to see there are so many other "Ames 11" out there!


(107) Heather Fredrikson
Sun, 31 May 2009 03:17:08 +0000

I loved the book and appreciated the honest and loving tone. Although, as a woman who has endured a handful of complicated and intense friendships through the years, I value my current, newest friendships. I happened to be the girl needed and often taken advantage of in relationships. My mom once commented that girls are friends with me, find what they need, and move on to be better people. This was a very damaging and hurtful way to learn about friendships between women. I often felt abandoned and spent from all that I gave to friends. But, I realize now that I have learned from those friendships and I am able to give and receive equally because I am so much more secure. The friends that I have acquired recently, most specifically my best friend, are ones that are not entirely dependent on me or vice-versa. We add to eachother's fulfillment for life and now have the maturity to feel secure and valued without the petty irrationalizations of our youth. My best friend fills a hole in my heart that was designated for her to fill. I was supposed to meet her at this stage of my life. It is positively like we have always known each other. Thank you, Mr. Zaslow, for documenting such fantastic anecdotes from the Girls of Ames. As co-leader of my 16-person bookclub, with the best friend whom I just spoke of, we so value your perspective and risk-taking for a venture worth making. What an insight!

Heather Fredrikson

(106) Beth S.
Sat, 30 May 2009 03:38:38 +0000

I finished reading this book a couple of weeks ago and absolutely loved it. I am not a "reader" by any means but when I read a brief summary on this story I knew I would enjoy it. I was right. I'm one of 7 in a tight circle of friends. Some of us have been in the "group" longer than others but none of us less than 23 years. Like Angela, I was the last one to merge into their already established foundation. However, over the years they've never made me feel like I've known them for the least amount of time. Our lives run parallel to the Ames girls in so many ways. We still have our get togethers and share stories as much as we can. We have secret pals throughout the year so I've bought my "pal" her own copy of this book and told her I hope she passes a copy down to her secret pal and so on and so on so we can all enjoy this wonderful story. Hopefully it works out to where we've all obtained a copy and have read it by Christmas so we can share it at our annual Christmas gathering. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and hope that my "friends" will enjoy it as much as I did. Keep your friendships strong and ongoing.

(105) carla
Fri, 29 May 2009 22:04:03 +0000

I'm nearly finished with the book- had to take a break and just tell you all how much I'm enjoying it. I still keep in touch with four friends from highschool (class of '78)and we are planning our 2nd long weekend trip together in June. We've been meeting regularly for shorter visits, but after our first long weekend trip a couple years ago, we knew we had to do it again. We've actually known each other since elementary school and all lived within walking distance of each other's homes. It is a wonderful and special thing to have lifelong friends who you know will always be there for you. One of my friends suggested that we could write our own book- we'd have plenty of stories, but I'm not so sure I'd want them in print for the world to see. Thanks for being brave enough to open up your lives to all who read the book, and thanks to Mr. Zaslow for the telling your story so beautifully. Reading your story has made me that much more thankful for the gift of friendship.

(104) Margaret Good
Fri, 29 May 2009 16:53:23 +0000

I am one of a group of 15 women who have been friends for over 40 years, and we will be for the rest of our lives. We became an official group in high school in 1967 as a YMCA "Hi-Y" club, but many of us have known each other since elementary school and some even from birth. We are as different as we can be in terms of politics and religion, but we accept and love each other fully. Some have been married for more than 30 years, some have been divorced, a couple of us have never married, and one is a lesbian. Collectively we have 21 children including two sets of twins, though some of us never had the privilege. We are doctors, lawyers, teachers and more, some of us are housewives (domestic goddesses really) and even now, at age 56 or 57, many of us are still struggling to find ourselves. One of us was once a nude mud wrestler in Hawaii who successfully battled a heroin addiction, two of us have faced breast cancer, one is in remission and the other is hopefully now on the road to recovery after a nightmare year. Most of us live on the West Coast (we grew up in an area of Los Angeles known as Westchester), but one lives as far away as France. .

We used to get together for a party every Christmas, but for the past 15 or so years we started spending at least one long weekend together each year. Two summers ago ten of us spent a glorious couple of weeks in France.

These ladies are my best and dearest friends. I know I could call any one of them if I ever needed anything and they would be there. We have often thought/dreamed about writing a book about our life together and our fabulous journey, so please feel free to contact us if you are interested in learning more about the "Chalantes".

(103) Lynn Larkin
Fri, 29 May 2009 03:35:02 +0000

A great read!! Like many others, I ravished the book in a couple of days. I grew up in Ottumwa, Iowa but was never fortunate to have that lasting circle of friends. Over the years, moving around, I have met two or three people that have formed those group friendships. One group from New Mexico had been meeting annually since high school and the lady I interviewed for a story about that friendship was 80!!! How lucky, and blessed, you are!! You will never be alone as long as two of you are still alive!

(102) Andrea
Thu, 28 May 2009 22:19:07 +0000

I went to ISU in Ames for college and now live in Edina, MN. We have a group of 11 women who have stayed in touch from our sorority at Iowa State for 25 years. We gather together every five years to keep in touch. We also have a chain letter that goes around to all the girls. You put in a new letter and new photo and pass it along to the next gal. It has really helped us stay in touch over the years(we didn't have email when we graduated). It was my moms idea to do the letter and she is still in touch with her college friends from 50 years ago with the same type of letter! I loved this book and could so relate to these women. (We are a couple of years older than they are.) I am planning an on-line book club with my college friends this summer to discuss the book. It isn't until July, but I couldn't stop reading once I started... I laughed and cried. Thanks for a great read!

(101) Bec
Wed, 27 May 2009 05:09:43 +0000

As a Marshalltown Iowa girl, 30 miles east of Ames,.. ( grad 1976) this book hit home on many levels, detassle time, the corn feild kegs,, and so much more, and also as a breast cancer survivor, I wish the girls the very best!!

(100) Cathy Belcher
Wed, 27 May 2009 03:42:38 +0000

I'm an avid reader and found this book last week just before Borders was about to close. It took me just two days to devour it and I've been thinking about its impact on readers. We've all been told that to be able to count those who are truly friends on one hand is a blessing, this book proves otherwise. Being raised in the Midwest, there's something to be said about the values and traditions of middle America. I believe this book transcends at least three decades, those of us who grew up in the late 60's, the 70's and early 80's. Women's lives changed dramatically from those of our mother's age to the sexually uninhibited lifestyles that came later. We saw all of these changes from children through adulthood and it couldn't help but change our perspective on life. I believe that we would all like to reach back and grab a little of the innocence of an earlier time and share it with our closest friends no matter where they are now. This book allows us to all live a little bit vicariously through the "Girls of Ames"

(99) Joni Price
Tue, 26 May 2009 16:43:49 +0000

I just finished reading the book about the Ames girls and loved it! It was surreal to read about their experiences as I am originally from Iowa and have now lived in Missouri for twenty years. My husband graduated with and knew these same girls, so he remembered some of the highschool experiences that they spoke about in the book. This made it seem as if I had been there also. The book makes me wish to reunite with so many of my old classmates and friends from the past. I wish that I had such a circle of close friends as the Ames girls do. As we get older, we realize how important our friends are and how much we need that bond even more so as we age.

Any scoop on my husband, please feel free to contact me and share :) fExvB

(98) Lisa
Tue, 26 May 2009 15:56:47 +0000

What a great book! It reinforces the importance and work of a friendship between women. I couldn't put the book down and will probably have it finished today- after just 3 days of reading :)
The story made me think of past and present friendships - the dynamics and frustrations - but it also made me appreciate my close friends even more.
One such friend is my friend Ashley. I have known her for only 8 years, but she is like a sister to me. We don't live that close- I am in Iowa and she is in Kansas - and we've only spent one on one time together twice but those are the best few days. This last time, I felt as if we connected even more and were able to open up more about our hopes, fears and dreams.
Thanks also to all my other friends for being here when I need you. I don't know what I would do without you!

(97) Janine Manchel
Tue, 26 May 2009 03:05:44 +0000

I just finished this book in 2 sittings! I absolutely loved it! I too am 45 years old, graduated high school in 1981 and have a best friend since the age of 11. I can't imagine a world without Mary in it! We ARE one. We don't live in the same city (I in San Diego and her still in Michigan close to where we grew up), but there is absolutely not one day that goes by without me thnking of her or smiling to myself. When we do get together, it's like we never left each other's company. Other friends come and go in my life, and honestly, I treasure them all, but none will ever come close to Mary! Thank you for writing such a fantastic book that mirrors what I feel about my own friendship. How lucky I am to have a friend like that! THANKS to all my friends, old and new for always being there for me! I love each and every one of you!

(96) Carol Kohler
Mon, 25 May 2009 22:23:01 +0000

I can't seem to get this book off my mind. Maybe it's because I can relate so much or maybe it's because I know these women are special. The biggest lesson I believe we can all take from this book is that friendship is work, just like a marriage and raising children, life in general I suppose. However, friends are critical for our health, for a long and productive life. I want women to know all around the world, do whatever it takes to keep your friendships alive and thriving. Many years down the road, when you need each other so very much, you will be glad you have your girlfriends. Loneliness is very sad.

(95) Amy
Mon, 25 May 2009 15:57:22 +0000

"I am them and they are me...." Was all I could think after reading the book straight through. I'm into my fourth day of alone time... No hubby, kids, tv, or radio. Reading this book; what a great way to spend some "me" time! I feel so sorry for those women who don't or can't gather other women around them for laughter, support, reality checks, acceptance, truth and most of all love. They are missing out on one of the best treasures a woman can have! From Raleigh

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