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Big Friendship by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman
Narrative nonfiction

Big Friendship

Debut
We love supporting debut authors. Congrats, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, on your first book!

by Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman

Quick take

Grab your BFF. This book explores female friendship from all angles, including its highs, lows, and rewarding feels.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FastRead

    Fast read

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_SocialIssues

    Social issues

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FemaleFriendship

    Female friendships

Why I love it

Dennis Norris II and Tommy Pico
Co-hosts, Food 4 Thot

We have to admit: We knew we would enjoy a book about the friendship of Aminatou and Ann, two accomplished, feminist women, whose podcast we both love. We knew we would relate, having similarly created our own podcast with two others, an iconic queer friendship-quartet in which the spark was immediate, and remains palpable. What we weren’t prepared for was the depth of our emotional investment in this friendship that, ostensibly, has nothing to do with us. It grew with every margarita, mud bath, and Gchat conversation—as though it were the story of our own adult-formed and tightly-cherished friendship. Which, in a way, it is!

Right! What Tommy loves is that it doesn’t shy away from the difficult aspects of friendship, like the conflicts, the strains, and the silences. Can you imagine performing a friendship in public, while privately that friendship is dissolving? You can feel the pressure and the tension. Tommy also loves that while the book is telling the story of two people’s very specific friendship, it acts as a practical guide for talking through difficult silences, for lateral career shine-giving, and the difficulties of an interracial friendship. Oh, and as a person who doesn’t particularly yearn for romantic love, Tommy felt like he’d been waiting his whole life for a book that gives platonic love the same respect and care as romantic love. That was very real for Tommy!

So real! What was real for Dennis was the moment they learned about Ann’s breakup with her boyfriend in DC—the same guy she’d moved there to be with—and how Aminatou was her safe harbor during that difficult transition. And similarly, their heart was jumping out of their chest when Aminatou had a difficult lunch with her father, in part because she felt her professional life was in shambles, and Ann was there for her in the best way possible: she gave her Xanax. Friends who know when to lend an ear and pair it with Xanax are friends who will stand the test of time! And Tommy, Dennis will give you Xanax anytime you want.

Ultimately, what makes Big Friendship so special is the way it gives friendship a turn in the spotlight. Stories and jokes are shared, we laughed and we cried, and in the end we were grateful to ride along on Ann and Aminatou’s journey. Big Friendship boldly steps into the relatively unfamiliar territory of taking platonic, non-sexual intimacy as seriously as romantic intimacy. It owns the fact that for many of us, queer folks and otherwise, it is our friendships that are sustained over time, that provide us with the safety and support that we need to mold our lives in the images of our own choosing.

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Synopsis

A close friendship is one of the most influential and important relationships a human life can contain. Anyone will tell you that! But for all the rosy sentiments surrounding friendship, most people don’t talk much about what it really takes to stay close for the long haul.

Now two friends, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman, tell the story of their equally messy and life-affirming Big Friendship in this honest and hilarious book that chronicles their first decade in one another’s lives. As the hosts of the hit podcast Call Your Girlfriend, they’ve become known for frank and intimate conversations. In this book, they bring that energy to their own friendship—its joys and its pitfalls.

An inspiring and entertaining testament to the power of society’s most underappreciated relationship, Big Friendship will invite you to think about how your own bonds are formed, challenged, and preserved. It is a call to value your friendships in all of their complexity. Actively choose them. And, sometimes, fight for them. 

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Preview

Get an early look from the first pages of Big Friendship.

Member thoughts

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All (5962)
Love (1676)
Like (2983)
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6155 ratings
  • 27% Love
  • 48% Like
  • 21% Dislike
  • Hoboken, NJ

    I bought this book to understand one specific friendship & wound up learning a lot more about myself than I bargained for. I don’t normally read non fiction, this was different for me, in the best way

  • Crete, IL

    I needed to read this book. It’s so true that our friendships can be just as important, if not moreso, than our romantic relationships. We need to know how to take care of them when things get tough.

  • Ellicott City, MD

    I truly enjoyed reading about Aminatou and Ann’s friendship. I loved their vulnerability. The commentary on friendships (big and not) was thought-provoking and made me reflect a lot on my own friends.

  • Los Angeles, CA

    This was exactly what I needed to help me sort through my feelings on friends! Those who matter and those who I don’t really want to try hard for. Everyone is there for a reason. Such a great read!!!!

  • Arlington, MA

    4.5 stars for me! Wasn’t what I expected, in a good way. I really enjoyed reading the story of their friendship and appreciated their honesty. I’m in a place where I really value female friendship!

  • Rochester, NY

    Big Friendship is a wonderful read that provides language to the importance of friendships throughtout our adult lives. I appreciate Sow and Friedman’s journey in such a necessary and obscured topic.

  • Grand Prairie, TX

    I’ve begun challenging the idea of friendship, and this played a key role in that journey. Aminatou & Ann have a beautiful relationship, many thanks to them for putting this book out in the universe!

  • Nashville , TN

    An introspective, warm, and funny memoir about the importance of friendship and how we keep our friends close. I laughed, cried, and learned. I’ll definitely be calling my best friend after reading.

  • Waianae, HI

    I had been searching for the perfect gift for my closest bffs to explain to them how important they are in my life. And THIS is it. It touches on the beauties AND difficulty of true adult friendship.

  • Oceanside, CA

    It was interesting to read the simultaneous, combined narrative. Light, relatable with just enough facts and insight. Highly recommend for all of us trying to adult and navigate those Big Friendships.

  • Madison, WI

    Fascintaing! All the book recs in here from works they reference. A beautiful, relatable look at a big but tough friendship. I devoured it in a day and I will probably be thinking about it for a while

  • Whitehall, PA

    I had a feeling I was going to love this book and I was right! I resonated with everything in this book so much. Definitely something I needed to read right now! Would absolutely recommend to everyone

  • Rosemead, CA

    This was a very insightful book that made me re-think how i approach my friendships past and present. Having recently lost my life partner, the sorts and facts here really helped me see how I can grow

  • Naperville, IL

    This was the BEST book I've read in a long time. Reading about Aminatou and Ann's story reminded me of my own friendships. I learned so much, and I hope I can use it to sustain my own big friendships.

  • Fort Collins, CO

    What rockstars! In a cut-throat job market & socially isolate, what a refreshing take on lifting each other up & making each other better. For anyone missing their girlfriends, this is an inspiration!

  • Toano, VA

    This book was great. It reminded me of a friendship that recently ended, but also of one that has been strong for years. The perfect book for people hoping to build stronger relationships with others.

  • Saint Petersburg, FL

    AMAZING! It's what a conversation between me and my best friend would be in book form. Sharing the importance of best friendships and power they truly hold in our lives. Check out Shine Theory ♥️

  • Minneapolis, MN

    This book is IMPORTANT! I think one of the hardest parts of being an adult is finding and holding onto powerful, nourishing friendship. It's indisputably harder than dating and no one talks about it!

  • Fultondale, AL

    Sow and Friedman really bring light to the complexity and importance of close, supportive friendships. They’re writing triggered much introspection on my own friendships and the dynamics within.

  • Cranberry twp, PA

    This book showcases not only the uplifting parts of friendship, which are many, but also brings to light that all relationships take work and that the work is almost always worth it. Beautiful story.

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