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