The Friend Who Got Away

Novels and films are full of stories of romance gone bad: Breaking up is hard to do, and most people can identify. Yet no formal genre exists depicting the best-friend breakup, despite the fact just as many people go through this ordeal as well. In The Friend Who Got Away, 20 women write of their experience in this collection of essays on best-friend breakups. Among the most notable and poignant are editor Jenny Offill’s story, “End Days,” describing her junior-high friendship with Mary, a devout Christian and accomplished spelling bee contestant; the pair of essays, “Emily” by Heather Abel and “Heather” by Emily Chenoweth, college roommates who became so close each would see herself in the other, only to stray apart after Emily’s mother died of cancer; and Ann Hood’s “How I Lost Her” telling of her best friend who stood by her through personal tragedy, only to part ways with her when Hood’s young daughter suddenly died. These stories are sad, gut wrenching and illuminative at the same time, and you’ll find yourself somewhere in one of them, if not many.