author Lisa Verge Higgins has captured the true essence of friendship in The Proper care and Maintenance of Friendship. It is not a fair weather venture where you only get together for celebrations, rather it's a 'through thick and thin' continuation of events that is maintained even after death. (yes, I still involve my best friend in my life even though she passed away almost four years ago).
Kate, Jo, Rachel and Sarah have been close friends since college. The three surviving friends are caught off balance when Rachel succumbs to cancer. One of her final actions was to write letters to her dear friends requesting that they complete a task in her memory. These are not easy tasks, for Rachel knows her friends very well and knows what makes them tick, what makes them thrive and conversely, what holds them back.
You might think this is far fetched, that a friend could truly discern what you need to do to get your life back on track. Reflect for a minute, when was the last time you sat back and looked at your daily life from outside. Are you constantly lamenting something you haven't done, but never attempt to do; are you always wishing you had said something differently but never try to correct what you said; wishing you had visited some location; or had written a book. Your best friend probably knows this about you. Rachel knew these things about her three friends and set them on the paths she felt they needed to travel.
Now that I have posed this question, you are probably sitting there and thinking of a friend or two that you would like to nudge. Get this book and read it, then get a copy for your friend and get her to read it as well. Then talk about it. It would make a terrific book club read.
By now you should be able to tell that I loved this book. I had the paper copy sitting on my bookshelf for far too long when I decided that I would download the audio version. After I started listening to it, I wondered why I had waiting so long. Hillary Huber was the reader and she did a great job. Her accents, particularly of Jo, evoked powerful images of these characters. 10 hours 16 minutes, unabridged.
Hachette Book Group for use of the cover image and for my paper review copy. (first image)
Thanks to Blackstone Audio for use of the audio cover image. (second image)
You might also enjoy:
The Letter Opener by Kyo Maclear