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August 8, 2020

The Friendship List by Susan Mallery ~ a Review

by MK French
 

Ellen Fox is a single mother, and content with the life she has. Her son won’t leave for college because he thinks she needs him too much, so Ellen and her best friend Unity Leander plan a massive to-do list of activities to prove that they’re living their best life. That way, Cooper can confidently go to college to have his life begin. Along the way, both ladies realize that they were a little too shut in, and that life is best lived with action.
Amazon affiliate links are used on this site. A free book was provided for an honest review.

The Friendship List
August 2020; HQN; 978-1335136961
audio, ebook, print (384 pages); women's fiction
 
I love how we begin the book with not only Ellen’s friendship with Unity but with Coach Keith Kinnes. It’s a purely platonic friendship between them at that point, which we don’t always see.  Of course, that also means there has to be some underlying attraction that the list brings out of them both. Unity also has a lot of friends through the retirement villa where she spends a lot of time with repairs as part of her business. The older people are vibrant and actually more technologically up to date than she is, another facet we don’t usually see. Her friend Dagmar is a hoot and sets up Unity with her grandnephew Thaddeus. Their meet-cute is actually a meet-terrible, as Unity is so anxious she could barely even speak. Both women are really clueless about dating, mostly because their circumstances cut them off from dating since they were teenagers, and after seventeen years, things are very different on the dating scene.

I like the idea of Ellen and Unity checking in with each other, arguing, and coming back together to make up when they’re frustrated with each other. Their friendship had gone through many hardships, and they’re more like sisters than friends. The way they know to hit with their words to support or hurt shows that, and I appreciate the lifelong friendship that they have. They encourage each other as they go through their lists, and stumble their way through experiencing life. As much as they're both frightened of change, and of losing themselves in the process, both women support each other. Not only are they able to keep the parts of the past that made them who they are, they can help each other move forward to really seize what they want.

The Friendship List explores friendship of different kinds as well as romantic love. It's great to see how the two women seriously discuss things, as well as the friendships they have with other women, too. Putting themselves out there and changing things can be scary, but they have a huge support network, and that makes the difference for them to continue to grow.

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Born and raised in New York City, M.K. French started writing stories when very young, dreaming of different worlds and places to visit. She always had an interest in folklore, fairy tales, and the macabre, which has definitely influenced her work. She currently lives in the Midwest with her husband, three young children, and a golden retriever. 

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