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.
(514) Ashley
Wed, 26 January 2011 22:46:36 +0000

I just finished reading about the Girls from Ames, and i must admit that it took me on an emotional rollercoaster. Not only were the events in these women's lives sometimes heartbreaking, but it also made me think about my life and my friendships. As a twenty-one year old college girl, I have to admit that i do not have as many girl friends as I thought I would have back in grammar school. I have always have close girl friends, but for one reason or another I have not stayed close with many of them. I went to an all girl highschool and for four years of my life I had a very close knit group of about ten girls that i thought i would be friends with forever. But for different reasons (boys and college mostly) the friendships just did not last for the most part. I am not only close with two of the girls from highschool, and only aquaintances with much of the rest. Upon going away to college, I met my true sisters. My college roomates became my closest friends, and the people I could turn to no matter what. Thankfully, I dont ever see that bond changing.

When I first started reading this book it was emotional for me for the fact that I found myself extremely jealous of these eleven girls from ames, and their obviously amazing friendship. The lose of my highschool group has always remained with me and has troubled me alot of times. Strong friendships were always something I valued and found important in life. However, by the end of the book I just found myself feeling greatful; greatful for the true friends I do have. While I might not have the same girls from highschool I thought I would have forever, the girls that I do have now are even better. They are always there for me and I always feel truly loved by them. I wouldnt trade my girls for the world! I think by reading this book I was finally able to let go of the sadness that comes with losing once close friends. I am a million times more grateful for Carly, Katherine, Danielle, and Sam!

(513) Kari Knudtson Jones
Tue, 25 January 2011 14:26:15 +0000

I dreamed about the 22 children last night! All were delightful and I wanted them in my consciousness, just as their mothers have held significant roles in my life during the past week. I even feel compelled to pray for The Girls, especially Kelly and Angela, and their hopefully completed breast cancer journeys. Fictional characters hold relatively little interest compared to living, breathing, strong, vulnerable people! You Girls could be my neighbors. That blows my mind! I'm wondering how your lives have changed since the 2009 publication.

Last week I listened to an audio book from the library while driving to and from Iowa to start the painful process of cleaning out my recently deceased mother's home. Talk about an emotionally charged trip! I am six years older than The Girls, grew up in a smaller northwest Iowa town, and had grandparents in Ames throughout those formative years. I know The Magic Window and Boyd's. I can't believe how similar our adolescent experiences and friendships were, including playing spin the bottle and "making out" in cinder block basement parties during junior high, detasseling corn, cornfield keggers, adventures at Lake Okoboji, and much, much more. Non-Iowa girls know nothing of these things!

I purchased 12 hardbacks yesterday at B & N for a great price, and will send four to high school friends, give seven to current friends of twenty years, and keep one forever. I envy the connections you Girls have maintained, but am so thankful for a similar dozen great Iowa pals, even though we haven't sustained the relationships through the decades. Your revealing of yourselves taught me much about myself, the dynamics in my nearly identical childhood and high school group, and the power of intimacy in female friendship. I am indebted to you Girls and Jeffrey Zaslow!

(512) Nancy Maddox
Thu, 20 January 2011 15:43:05 +0000

Just wanted to make sure the Ames girls know that Rod Stewart and Stevie Nicks are touring! I remember reading that they are big Rod Stewart fans!! They will be here in GA 1/22, but maybe they will be closer to some of you all and y'all can have a girls weekend!!

(511) Alison
Wed, 19 January 2011 01:11:12 +0000

I just finished reading the Girls from Ames. It was a a wonderful book and very touching. I have had many of my friends for 20 plus years. One friends and I became friends at camp 23 years ago and still stay in touch. Ours is a "Beaches" type friendship where we wrote to each other all of the time. We made a promise to meet once a year. Even though she is married now witha famly of her own, we are still close. There is seven years between us so she is sort of an older sister to me. The strange thing is her birthday is three days before mine and our brothers birthdays were also three days apart. Yes, I said "were". Both of our brothers passed away 4 years apart. I have kept all of her letters and through our letters we have watched each other grow up through our letters and visits. Another unique friendship I have is with my high school teacher. She taught me one of my worst subjects and actually tutored me with similar courses in college. She, her husband, and two daughters took me in. They were like an extended family for me through college. She and I are still close friends and hang out quite often. We shop and talk. Though our lives are busy we always make time for each other. These are just two of the many friends I have encountered over my 33 years on this earth. Friends are special in that we choose them and they choose us. We have good talks, encourage, and support each other. In the Girls from Ames I relate the most to Kelly. I am so glad I read this book and cannot wait to share this book with my own friends. There are too many of us to share one book so I plan to buy the book for each of my friends and give it to them. Thank you to the Girls from Ames for sharing your stories and for Jeffery Zaslow. It is wonderful to read a book I can relate with. It will also help me to be a better friend and to strengthen my own friendships. Thank you. FJmR3

(510) Jenny
Mon, 17 January 2011 19:58:58 +0000

Wow!! I just finished the Girls from Ames and loved it. I have never cried more continously from another book. Each chapter was so relatable in one way or another. I am 31, man, I can't believe that and I have wonderful friendships from middle school, high school and college. Most people are amazed that I am still in touch with all these people and I think to myself, "How can you not be". Friendship is so important and each part of this book paralleled to a part in my life. I was on a friends trip with my girls from middle school. We were in Vegas and as we were sitting out at the pool, talking, laughing, drinking, gossiping, reading and laughing more. As all this was going on, I kept referencing parts of this book to us. In fact, at work, I keep talking about the book and now my co workers all want to read it and I PRomisOMISEd that I would finish it this weekend and I have.

It is so great to see the bond of friends and know that no matter what, they are there for you, by your side during thick and thin, good or bad and know everything about you, can finish your sentences and have a special place in your heart.

The journey of these women are amazing and I only wish more women have friends like The Girls from Ames.

(509) Jillian
Sun, 16 January 2011 03:05:20 +0000

I read The Girls from Ames as a new member to my first book club. I enjoyed reading this book for so many reasons. I was enthralled by the story of these women, these friends that were amazing yet ordinary. It was so interesting to read the stats on friendships for women versus men giving me greater understanding of my husband’s friendships and validation to my value of friendship. It was a wonderful book to discuss with a new group of women each with their own strong group of friends. It was a unanimous decision that friendships which stand the test of time take a lot of effort with a lot of reward. However what connected me most to this book was my own desire to write the story of my own group of girlfriends, The Blonde Brigade.

A perfect dozen in our thirties established as a unified group in 1997 during our last semester at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. We have a mix of connections…some childhood friends, some high school friends, some sorority sisters, and some roommates or college classmates. We were all unified through our love for UNC and holding onto those college memories. However as we approach our 10 year college reunion, our friendship is now more about the bond we have today than it is about those blissful years at UNC. We live in Arizona, Virginia, and mostly North Carolina. The majority of us are fortunate to live within 30 minutes to 2 hours of each other. We are able to have dinner dates, movie dates, and now even play dates with our collective 12 children on a regular basis. We get together as a whole group about 4 times a year, usually a winter girls weekend, a beach weekend, a UNC football weekend, and a Christmas gathering. Everyone doing all that they can to attend the weekend event to avoid feeling completely devastated, being left out of the stories shared and stories created. We most recently celebrated our 30th birthday, 11 of us were able to attend a four day getaway to Florida. We now have t-shirts, can koozies, visors & beach towels with our group logo to go along with our annual calendar, all dedicated to celebrating our amazing friendship. We even have baby bibs and kid hats for our second generation of BBers. To some outsiders we may seem cliquish or childish but most are just envious of this incredible bond we have with each other. This is a bond that provides the greatest joy, the deepest comfort, and immeasurable love.

My hope is that I am able to capture this amazing story in a way others feel motivated and empowered to take the time and effort to nurture their own friendships in order to gain one of life’s greatest joys, friendship.

(508) Maggie
Sat, 15 January 2011 13:50:18 +0000

I also have a group of friends from grade school/ high school that we have stayed in each other lives over the years. We are from Iowa City ( Go Hawkeyes!) and I love how you paint Iowa in such a great light the state doesn't get enough credit! I hope everyone can have a gruop of friends, no matter the number, to go though life. I like you feel very lucky to have my friends still with me everyday even if I don't see them everyday. It was a great book hope this makes those friendships out there stonger after people read it.

(507) Angie Tassone
Thu, 13 January 2011 04:03:57 +0000

I've just finished your book & will be sending it on to one of my "girls" tomorrow. I picked up the book because the picture on the front was familiar, as it reminded me of some of our group shots. Our story is similar, although there are only six of us and we live in North Carolina. We didn't detassel corn, but we did harvest tobacco! Others have come & gone over the years, but "The Girls" have prevailed. Four of us were together in grade school, with the other two added in junior high. One of us (that would be me)is in a second marriage(got it right on the second try!). Two have never married but are wonderful aunts helping raise nieces & nephews. We've given birth to a total of six kids (all boys!) We live within 100 miles of each other, in five different towns. We get together at least once a year for a long weekend together, and whenever we can arrange a "girl's night", which usually means a slumber party & talking non-stop into the wee hours in an effort to catch up. Ten years ago when we were all turning 40, we took a cruise to the Bamahas together. Our plan for this year at 50 was a trip to New York, but due to declining health of some of our parents and some financial setbacks for others, we'll be holding off on that adventure. Our time together is spent pretty much as described in the book, laughing & crying together, supporting and leaning on each other. I've sung at the funerals of three of the girls' parents, and we've been together for weddings, graduations, birthdays, and "everydays". And, of course, we are constantly emailing & pressing "Reply All". We're closer than sisters and have shared much laughter and tears through the years. This book has touched me deeply and I can't wait to share it with "The Girls." Thank you.

(506) Laura
Wed, 12 January 2011 21:25:37 +0000

I was not more than five pages in when I abruptly closed the book, logged on to Amazon,and ordered 6 copies...five went to NY, and one to TX.

That done, I returned to my copy and continued on one of the most enjoyable literary journeys I've been on in quite some time. Thank you.

(505) Linda
Wed, 12 January 2011 15:39:31 +0000

Your story is a blessing to all of us who read it. Thank you for sharing it! I just returned from a 40th birthday cruise with my best friends from college, and I had finished your book on the plane to Miami. We have 21 years and counting of friendship, and I can't imagine not sharing the highs and lows of my life with them.

(504) Amy Engel
Mon, 10 January 2011 17:01:59 +0000

I just finished the book last night and loved it! I realized as I was finishing it that it was January 9th which would have been Christie's 21st birthday. Karla I was thinking of you and can't imagine what you went through. I can't wait to pass my book along to my college friends who are very similar to the Ames Girls. We all went to the University of Colorado and were DG's together. Six of us have remained close friends to this day and share many of the same traits as you all do! Thanks for a wonderful book and best wishes to you all!

(503) Deborah Bridge
Sun, 9 January 2011 06:57:06 +0000

I just finished the book and LOVED it. I have passed it along to another friend. I lived in Ames and went to Iowa State from 1990-1992. I also lived in W. Des Moines for 26 years.

I just wanted to tell Karla that I am thinking of her as tomorrow (January 9) would have been Christie's birthday. I also hope that Kelly and Angela are doing well.

This book really touched me, even though I have never really experienced having a close friend in my lifetime. It's great that you all have each other.

(502) sandy frueauf
Sun, 9 January 2011 00:24:33 +0000

I just finished reading this book and can't believe it is so similar to my story. Because of that, it is one of my favorite reads. I have a group of lifelong friends - women & men. We grew up in the same neighborhood. Myself (Sandy), Donna, Tammie, Sharon, Dave, Jim, Mike, Rick and Rich. Donna and I started in kindergarten together. Tammie & Sharon joined us around 2nd grade. Rick & I lived back to back and played kickball together. Some of us were childhood sweethearts and even married. We are all in our mid 50's. We know each other so well and have such a strong bond, that it doesn't matter what we've done in the past or even now, it is an unconditional love that I have not experienced with any other friends. We can get together once a year and nothing has changed. It is a bond that can not be broken.

(501) Kate Hernandez
Thu, 6 January 2011 04:58:16 +0000

Some of my girlfriends from undergrad started a book club. For our second book, we read Girls from Ames. Some of us go back to high school, but most of us weren't even that close in undergrad. Since graduating college and staying in Kansas City, we've grown closer. At the closing of our book club meeting, we had to take a pic like the cover of your book! Your story and friendships have made acquaintances become friends!! Thanks for sharing your life with us!

(500) Andrea
Wed, 5 January 2011 03:14:36 +0000

I am a girl from Iowa, now living in Seattle, who picked up this book in an airport during a layover on a business trip. My comments here are not so much retelling of my own stories of female friendship as memories bubbling up from my intersecting experiences with the Ames girls, and a need to put them down on "paper."

I graduated from a small town Iowa high school in 1983 and went to college in Ames at Iowa State from 1983 - 1987. When I picked up this book I thought it would be fun to read about women my age, their friendships, and relive a few geographical memories of the town I lived in for a few short years in college.

I could relate to so many of the experiences of these women. I, too, detasseled corn in the summer with my friends. I, too, went to Boyd's. I, too, had great friends growing up. But as I read along, I was touched further by the story as I realized my intersection with the women in this story was more than an intersection of similar Iowan experiences.

As I read the chapter about Sheila, my chest grew tight. Every year, the Walsh family left for the summer to go to Okoboji and a lucky college student or two was picked to house sit the Walshes' house - a free place to stay in exchange for lawn mowing and polishing Sunny's collection of brass knicknacks. In the summer of 1985, I was one of those college students, along with my friend Lois. The name Walsh came rushing back to me as I read along, and the description of the living room and laundry room confirmed it - I had lived in their house. My phone number for that summer was 2320123. I think I must have stayed in Sheila and Susan's room as there were two twin beds in my room, and the rest of the bedrooms that I could recall had only one bed.

Getting to stay at that house was such a gift of generosity to me - I was paying my own way through college (my parents were divorced and mom didn't have money to help and dad was simply choosing not to) and having a place to stay for free enabled me to take some summer school classes and work in Ames for the summer. Without that house to live in, I would have been back home, detasseling corn.

Although I was still going to college and living in Ames when Sheila died, I don't remember hearing about her death. Even if I had, I'm not sure I would have connected it to the family who had given me such a generous gift the previous summer.

Sunny, if you read this, I would like to extend my long overdue condolences. And I would like to thank you. Your generosity helped me immeasurably and I am grateful.

To the rest of the Ames girls, thank you for sharing your stories, for re-connecting me with my Iowa roots, and for inspiring me to get back in touch with my close friends from Iowa that I've fallen out of touch with.


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