It took me a while to read this book, not because I couldn’t get into it, pretty much the exact opposite, just because it’s a book that can be read in installments, each chapter a story in itself, intertwined with all of the other chapter/stories to create a life in words. She Matters – A Life in Friendships is a collection of stories of Susanna Sonnenberg’s friendships that have come, gone and/or spanned a lifetime.
I had actually never heard of Susanna Sonnenberg before, and picked up She Matters one day while I was roaming around St Mark’s Bookshop for something new to read. The idea just really appealed to me, and after I had read the first chapter I wished it was the book I had thought of to write. It’s beautifully written, and a lot of the stories hit very close to home, mainly because of Sonnenberg’s complete ability to be truthful to herself and the reader. Some of the friendships she describes are balanced and go the distance; others end in tears, break-ups, or just sputter out along the way. Friendships that are built out of happenstance or a mutual interest; women who are brought together via a common cause, because they share the same classes or become roommates randomly after college. Some of the friendships have their ups and downs but settle down and become lifelong. Others last a couple of years and disappear due to neglect or distance. And others end in tears and pain, due to one or the other woman’s issues or selfishness. All are friendships that we can relate to – we have all had a Rachel, a Debra, a Louise in our lives. We have all met women with whom we have bonded immediately, women with whom we wanted to be friends no matter what, women who we disliked but then learnt to love. We have all had long-lasting and short-term friendships with women, and we have all had our hearts broken by a woman friend.
If I were to write a similar style project I think that I would not be able to only contain my work to female friendships that have shaped parts of my life, but I really love how Sonnenberg wrote and produced her work, creating a book that is both wonderfully written and so truthful as well as true to life that you don’t really want it to end. Very inspiring.