Copy provided by NetGalley
Publication Date: May 10, 2022Dear Friends by Lisa Greenwald, I'd forgotten how I found out about it or why I was interested. That kind of thing happens to me rather frequently and often leads to some very positive reading experiences. This was one of them.
Dear Friends begins with protagonist Leni confronting friend problems. She is really, really into best friends and when things go awry with her summer best friend as well as her all around best friend, she is shaken. My first thought was, Oh, this is going to be another one of those books about learning how to accept that relationships change. So true, so true, but I feel I've read enough of those.
But, no! As Leni starts to think about these situations, she realizes that a number of her friends are, indeed, former friends. Is this a pattern? What is going on here? So she sets out to investigate these former relationships and try to determine what happened.
Leni is a bit of a girly girl, interested in traditional girl friendship things, and I could have found her difficult to take as a character. However, her recognition that looking at her past relationships and contacting former friends could have a positive impact on her future gave her depth and made her a much more sophisticated character.
Some might argue that the book becomes a little teachy with what Leni realizes a person, herself included, needs to do in order to be a good friend. However, what she learns and expresses is valuable and a little different from other friend books I've read, which are often about avoiding toxic relationshiops. In this case, Leni is coming to terms with the idea that maybe it isn't her friends, it's her.
The book certainly made this adult reader dwell a little bit on whether or not she's making time for other people. Not enough to do anything about it, but still.