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.
(499) Amanda
Fri, 31 December 2010 09:14:18 +0000

I began reading The Girls From Ames as part of a new book club that I joined with my aunts. When I began this book, I was heading into the busy holiday season, my first after losing my mother. As a young woman in my twenties, the loss of my mother hit hard, and I wouldn't have made it through without the love and support of my friends. I found comfort in these pages reading about the experiences and friendships of these women. There was laughter and tears as I cried for these amazing women, whose strength is astonishing. This book has inspired me to begin a project of my own reflecting on the lessons my mother taught me, as she was always my strongest confidante. Best wishes to the Girls from Ames.

(498) Debbie
Fri, 31 December 2010 05:51:45 +0000

My best girlfriends from highschool(originally 8 of us, now only 5 in the same area) get together at least 2 or 3 times a year. We graduated from a Christian highschool in 1966. Like the Ames girls, we have supported each other through marriage, divorce, childbirth, deaths of parents, siblings and, yes, even children. For our 60th bday we went on a weeklong cruise to time ever. No matter how long it may have been we pick up where we left off at our next meeting. Last Sunday we had our annual Christmas dinner party and talked non-stop for 5 hrs. At last year's Christmas party one of the girls gave the book of the Ames girls as an exchange gift to be read and passed along. I just read it in 3 days and will pass it along to the next one this weekend. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about another group of great friends like my own.

(497) Marnie Gibeley
Fri, 31 December 2010 01:11:37 +0000

Hi-I cannot believe I am just reading this book...a couple of years behind many! It is incredible. I have spent my Christmas vacation week laughing and crying with my nose in the book, leaving my husband and three sons very curious. I too have wonderful memories of my three, old best friends. We have always called ourselves the "Arden Farm" girls and met, with the exception of one of us, when we were 7. We graduated in '84 from a small high school in Massachusetts. We grew up and played in the woods and near farms instead of the cornfields but have many similarities to the Ames girls. We have crazy early tales of skinny dipping in a lake that is used only for drinking water and getting caught by the police, piercing eachothers ears, making fairy houses in the woods, ringing doorbells and running, making crank calls (before caller ID), trying smoking and drinking out in the woods and too many other memories to mention. The stories become different as we grow up, but are equally as funny or sad. We get together as often as possible, most recently the week before Christmas. We share some crazy tales each time we're together, do a lot of laughing and crying as well and are glad we are still together. Unlike the Ames girls, most of us moved away for a while but have come back home which seems amazing to me. The woods, farms, nearby mountains, sea and lively Boston are hard to resist. I ventured out and lived in 6 other states but wanted to get back. We live within about a 15 mile radius of one another. I am running out and purchasing this book for everyone and an extra for my sister who was an '80 grad from the same high school. It will no doubt be appreciated and enjoyed by all. Many, many thanks!

(496) Mindy
Wed, 29 December 2010 16:38:14 +0000

My best friend sent me this book in the mail after she finished reading it as a total surprise to me. I'm not much of a reader but because she sent it to me I thought I would give it a try. As soon as I started reading it, I was hooked! It made me think of my relationship with my best friend.

We have been friends since 7th grade, she lived in a neighboring small town so we shared middle and high schools. I grew up in a town of about 800 and she a town of about 2000, about 15 miles apart in Eastern Oregon. As soon as we met we have been inseperable. I don't think we've ever even had a fight.

We have just been through so much together, sleepovers, vacations, my parents divorce, her loss of her brother, boyfriend heartache, her fathers stoke, marriage, babies...through it all we have always been there for eachother. I have moved a lot with my husband and family and she has always made it a point to continue to find ways to come visit me and I visit her when I go home to visit. She was there for me when I had my babies and continues to care for my girls as family as I do her son.

I just don't think I could ask for a better friend. I think of her daily now that I live in CO and she in OR. We are always trying to plan our next get together although we wish they could be more frequent. I really enjoyed this book because you girls ALWAYS made it to the reunions no matter what and it really made me want to the same for my best friend and I.

I think you can have lots of "friends" but true friends are had to find.

I love he so much!

(495) Leah
Thu, 23 December 2010 06:17:55 +0000

Before I begin, there are a few things I need to get off my back.
One: I did not read "The Girls of Ames". I want to, but I have not yet been graced with the pleasure of free time to be able to read for pleasure in a while.
Two: I am not forty and I don't have years of experience hidden under my belt. In fact, I turned twenty last week. But just because my age is young, does not mean my friendship is.
My friends and I have known each other for about ten years. We started off as two separate cliques, in two separate classes, in two separate neighborhoods. And eventually we matured and decided to form a unit, dubbing ourselves "the nine". And though we don't have shared experiences of babies, marriage or divorces. We do have sweet sixteens, failed tests and graduations.
While I can't vouch for our future, I can say that I don't see it being a problem. By using a Facebook Thread, we have been able to stay as close as we were in High School even though we are in separate classes, states, countries and continents. With our thread, no detail is too small. Unlike a phone call with its pressure to be lengthy, no post can be too short.
The Thread is littered with "I'm so hungry" declarations, followed by eight suggestions on what to eat. It shares stories of homesickness, boy woes and family joys.
The Girls of Ames are what we strive to be and with every day we get closer.

(494) Frank Alessandra
Fri, 17 December 2010 14:29:26 +0000

I read The Girls from Ames in the summer of 2009, and was moved by the incredible friendship of these women. From the miracle of Marilyn's birth, to the mystery behind Sheila's death, to the illness that struck Karla's child, to Kelly's fight against cancer, these women are a prime example of the strength that can be drawn from maintaining bonds with childhood friends. As a 44 year-old man, I saw many similarities in the relationships between these women when compared to friendships of female family members and friends.

The story also made me think about my own experiences, as I am still close to five male friends from my childhood. But as the book mentions, bonds between male friends are often expressed differently than the way women do it. In fact, a recent Wall Street Journal article written by Jeffrey Zaslow provided more insight on such differences (Friendship for Guys (No Tears!)) (April 7th, 2010). It mentions that women are more outwardly expressive in their friendships, stating "Women's friendships are face to face, they talk, cry together, share secrets. Men's friendships are side by side. We play golf. We go to football games." The article concludes that, although men might not be as physically or emotionally expressive, they can still gain great support from their friendships.

I had the pleasure of being interviewed by Jeff regarding my personal experiences, and was quoted in the aforementioned article. I saw that the article generated significant feedback from both men, who affirmed the desire for low-maintenance friendships, and women, who voiced how they'd like to better understand these relationships of their husbands or boyfriends. To say the least, I was pleased with the interest in this subject, because I recently completed a memoir titled The Six: A Story about Boys, Laughter, and a Lifelong Friendship. It is a coming of age story about six boys growing up together in the New Jersey suburbs in the 1980s. I consider it a male counterpart to the story of the Ames women. (website is

Like the Ames book states, "Women's bonds are more explicit. Men's feelings for each other might be strong, but their feelings are more implicit." Such a relationship is evident in my story. Beneath the surface of the many tales of my youth lies a heartfelt bond between six boys, one that grows stronger as life becomes more challenging. Throughout our trials and tribulations, the male support structure is indeed expressed with less emotion. We aren't comfortable crying, holding hands, or diving deep into our feelings. But still, we cherish what we share.

Our non-intimacy also holds true when getting together as adults, as we prefer not to discuss our problems, but look to one another as a way to briefly escape them. We particularly enjoy getting together once a year to share some laughs and reminisce back to the innocent days of the youth we shared. But that's not to say that all memories documented in this book are lighthearted or humorous. There were times the six of us confronted real problems: shattered dreams, deep regrets, heartbreak and racism. Whenever life presented a new challenge, we never hesitated to rally to one another's side. In our minds, support was always there, even if, as men, we felt the need to camouflage our sensitivity.

I'm extremely honored that Jeff was kind enough to provide the following blurb for my book. “Research shows that female friendships are face-to-face. Women share feelings and they’re emotional. Men’s friendships are side-by-side. We do things together – we play golf, poker. But it’s a mistake to discount the power of male friendships such as The Six. They can be every bit as important and as beautiful as female bonds.” – Jeffrey Zaslow, author of The Girls from Ames, coauthor The Last Lecture

Frank Alessandra
Flemington, NJ

(493) Julie Murray Seefus
Thu, 16 December 2010 02:14:42 +0000

I loved this book and it reminded me so much of the friendships I have had since kindergarten. I am from Emmetsburg, Iowa a small town in Northwest Iowa. I have been close friends with these girls since we were 5 and still are very close today. We have shared pregnancies, death of parents, grandparents and friends. Infidelity from significant others, and talk to each other like we have talked forever. These are the best friends a girl could ask for, we too could too write a book and tell our story, parts are unbelievable, but these are the kind of friends I can count on for anything.
Love them all dearly

(492) Ranee
Tue, 14 December 2010 15:40:03 +0000

Me and many of my Ames friends (we all went to Ames High) think you should write a book called "The REAL Ames Girls". Anybody from Ames High that is anybody (popular or not) all hung around the back of Main street, Brookside Park etc... Very few of us were big named families and no we didnt have much money but boy we loved are barn parties and cruzing Main....

(491) Kimberly Walker
Sat, 4 December 2010 18:56:21 +0000

I purchased this book as a gift for my mother, as she is from Sioux City and regularly gets together with her high school friends from the class of 1960. Since Xmas is a few weeks away, I decided to read it first, and as it turns out it is more my generation. I think she'll like it a great deal anyway. She just attended her 50th high school reunion. She wasn't sure she wanted to go. Seeing friends is easier than seeing a whole class. But she had such a great time she stayed an extra night. I look forward to the Lifetime movie!

(490) Rosie
Fri, 5 November 2010 13:49:09 +0000

The Girls From Ames is so heartfelt. I want to read it again.
I have 11 girlfriends in my group of MOMS (Mothers Offering Moral Support) and most of us have read the book. The Ames girls are in inspiration to me and I am hosting a Slumber Party at my house tonight.
Most of us have been friends for 20--30 years. We meet monthly for meetings and then do some traveling activities and some social activities with our husbands. We used to have Halloween & Christmas parties, plus an Easter Egg Hunt when our children were younger. Now many in our group have grandchildren. We also have gone to each other's children's graduations and weddings,
So I am looking forward to my first Slumber Party since I was 18 years old.
My husband and I have a 5 bedroom home and my 3 adult children are on their own. I suggested that my MOMS friends who are 60+,get the first choice of beds and then go down by age.
Some of the MOMS are in their 50's and a couple in their 40's.
When we run out of beds, the others will sleep on air mattresses on the floor.
We will have a taco bar for dinner tonight, play games, watch movies and then off to bed. We will NOT PULL AN ALL NIGHTER!
Then for breakfast, we'll have yogurt parfaits, rolls, OJ, milk and Coffee. Then everyone will be off to their own home.
I'm so glad my daughter suggested this book to read. I have told about 50 people about it. I hope every library in Iowa gets at least 2 copies.

(489) Cassie
Wed, 3 November 2010 00:20:23 +0000

I first read this book as part of a book club that is full of women in my family. I was very moved by the whole story and it gives me hope for my own close friends.
As I thought about things, I realize I only really have one close friend anymore. I have a few friends, but only one that is really close to me. We have been friends since we were in 7th grade together. That was now 12 years ago. We have been through so much together. She still lives at home with her parents, and I am married with three kids. I just recently gave up my fourth child for adoption, and she was one of the first people I told about my pregnancy. My cousin was kind enough to adopt my beautiful little boy. My friend helped me through it all, and has been a wonderful support in everything I have done. We are so close that we call each other sister.
I have her to think for my first child. She introduced me to my first boyfriend. When that relationship ended, she was very helpful and talked me through it. She was with me for all of my children's births, which was just wonderful.
I have been there for her just as much as she has been for me. I have always been great at giving her advice when she needs it. With reading this book, and seeing how all of the Ames girls have stayed close, I find hope for me and my friend.

(488) Sue
Mon, 1 November 2010 02:52:29 +0000

I have just finished reading the book "Girls from Ames" and throughly enjoyed it! It was very difficult to put the book down, and I am passing the book to my daughter to read. I went to a small Catholic High School and many of my classmates went to the same grade school. We just celebrated our 40th reunion! A group of us meet once a month for lunch and get caught up on everyone's lives. We were not always together, this recently started last year in preparation of our reunion. But we now share emails all the time. I am hosting a Christmas brunch. Some of us are married, some are divorced. But it doesn't matter, we are all together. It is funny, we spent 12 years at school together, went on our journeys and re-connected some 40 years later. Most of us are now enjoying our grandchildren and talking about if or when we can retire! We have also talked about how much fun it would be to all be in the same nursing home together! Our reunion was on a Saturday from 7 - 10. By 9:30 we were all yawning and saying it was pass our bedtime. For our next reunion, we will have it from 4 - 8 so we can leave before dark! I feel so lucky to have my friends in my life - again! To Kelly and Angela, I too am a breast cancer surviver of 8 years. I totally related to your stories. Thanks for sharing your lives! i cannot wait to see the movie!

(487) Caroline Roessler
Thu, 21 October 2010 14:16:26 +0000

My college roomate, and best friend, bought this book for our group of friends upon college graduation. We dubbed ourselves the "McNasties", a name invented because of our shared dorm, McMaster, our freshman year. The book is beautifully written, and achingly honest as the women acknowledge that friendships have ups and downs, disagreements and fights as well as shared good times. It is an inspiration to myself, and I hope to keep this strong of a relationship among my friends as these women did, and do. The story which spoke most to me was that of Kelly's diagnosis of breast cancer. My aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006, and though our family is large and close, I felt like she was going through it alone. I wish she had the close knit group of friends that Kelly has! Another thing that struck me was when Kelly was stating how important it was to her to not have a mastectomy, that maybe she would feel differently if she had been in a committed relationship. My aunt has never been married, and does not even attempt to date. After her mastectomy she feels unbeautiful, and it kills me because I see only beauty and strength when I look at her. I felt like Kelly has an important message to women out there, breast cancer survivors and those battling it - she is such a talented writer, that if she ever wrote a book on her experiences with breast cancer, I would buy it for my aunt in an instant! Thank you for telling these women's stories!

(486) Crystal O
Thu, 21 October 2010 01:41:09 +0000

I had seen the book while on vacation in Florida with relatives from Iowa last christmas and put it on my "book to read list". I finished it recently and have considered checking out the web site many times. Tonight is my first visit and my pending trip to Ames, Iowa for my nephew's wedding has me keeping the book near by.

There were similarities for me and the Ames girls. I also grew up in Iowa and graduated from high school in 1981. I moved in the middle of my 10th grade year and understand the challenges that can present during those teen years with making friends.
It was so fun to view the pictures of the girls from their high school years.

It was difficult not to shed tears at the many trials and tribulations the friends have endured on their journey through life. I have been blessed with female friends that whenever we make contact it's like picking up where we left off.

After reading the book I want to thank you for sharing your story of female friendship, I believe that type of friendship can be difficult to find and maintain. For the Ames girls what a true blessing to have such a diverse group of female friends.

I moved out of state in 2001 to Wisconsin and have family and friends that remain in Iowa so I do have a good excuse to return for visits. I am excited about my trip to Ames this upcoming weekend and will share the book with other family members. I will carry you with me on my journey.

Thanks Again.
Crystal, Wisconsin

(485) Jane McLawhorn
Mon, 18 October 2010 22:28:56 +0000

A friend of mine from work suggested that I read The Girls From Ames because she saw so many parallels between their story and the friendships that I have with my three best friends. We met in Jr. High and have maintained the friendship since then. We graduated from high school in 1980 and as I read the Ames girls' story I was transported back in time. We also saw less of each other between the ages of 28-38, when we were marrying and raising families. However, when we did get together it was like no time had passed and we were still in high school again. We re-connected in 2000, the year of our 20th high school reunion and have gathered at Myrtle Beach twice a year ever since. Our group name is The Awkward Angels, which gives a little insight to the kind of fun we have whenever we are together!

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