SHE MATTERS by Susanna Sonnenberg


A Life in Friendships
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The intimate, often unsparing reflections of a woman writer on a lifetime of friendships with other women.

Early on, essayist Sonnenberg (Her Last Death, 2008) learned, from the troubled mother who thought nothing of snorting cocaine in front of her and her sister and then confiding to them about her sexual exploits, that women were not only "fierce, supreme and capable," but also "devious and cunning.” The other girls and women who entered Sonnenberg's life would have other lessons for her. One of the first friends she made as a child taught her that it was possible to have "no drama at all" in a relationship with another female. Others, like the girls she met in boarding school, became role models, comforters and confidantes. They helped Sonnenberg navigate a turbulent adolescence that included an affair with a married teacher and other sexual betrayals. Two young women brought the author into an awareness of females as objects of desire. As an adult, Sonnenberg had many passionate friendships, only to either outgrow them or be outgrown by them. When she married and became a mother, the challenges she faced in her relationships with other women increased. Not only was she still trying to fulfill her yearning for lasting connections with other females who also lived complicated lives, she was also confronted with having to "rewrite…my previous definition of motherhood" and grow beyond the example her own mother had set for her.

With heart-rending precision, Sonnenberg offers an eloquent narrative that not only exposes but embraces the fraught nature of women's relationships with each other.

Pub Date: Jan. 8th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4391-9058-6
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Scribner
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15th, 2012


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