My Other Ex: Women’s True Stories of Leaving and Losing Friends is a compilation of essays about the painful passage that most of us have experienced – when a friendship comes to an end. I can’t help but think of that famous friendship poem that periodically makes it around the internet. “People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.” This collection has all three covered. Although most of the stories are about loss, some contain the element of reconciliation. There are essays about friendships in all phases of a woman’s life: childhood, the teen years, post high-school life, young adulthood, and motherhood. The anthology is published by The Her Stories Project, a blogger website that was created for female writers to share their tales of friendship. The project was so popular that it produced a book of the same title. In the original book, the essays about friendship break-ups garnered much attention and feedback from readers. The editors, Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger, decided to further explore the topic of loss and why it affects women so deeply. A second book was born!
Although the quality of the writing in this collection has resulted in a book with a literary tone, it’ll resonate with fans of chick lit – because we love our girlfriends! Girlfriends are universal and the bonds we establish with other women often transcend age, race, religion or socio-economic factors.
Unfortunately, our friends also have the power to break our hearts.
The most compelling aspect of the book is its writers’ courage in telling their stories. Some of them are pretty gritty. Oh, it gets very personal and I became emotionally invested in each tale. So much so, that I wanted to scratch a few eyes out! A number of authors took the fall for the end of a friendship. The pictures they painted were not pretty, and it took guts to reveal them. But I think the raw honestly with which the essays are written is what makes this such an engrossing and heartbreaking read. These women poured their hearts out and I cried more than once. I don’t usually do heartbreak when it comes to my reading, but so many of the stories resonated with me that I kept going.
I think my favorite part of the book was the last section, What We’ve Learned. This section featured essays that were reflections of the change in the role that friendship has played in an author’s life. One particular essay by Linda Wolf, titled Frenemies, really hit home. Wolf shared the types of friends that she’s let slip away or distanced herself from over the years. Here are just a few that she cited:
- The one who was only happy when she was making someone else feel bad.
- The one who tried to move into my friendships and then leave me out of their social plans.
- The one who always lied. About everything!
- The one who wanted to turn the entire wedding/pregnancy process into a competition.
- The one who gossiped about everyone, and probably gossiped about me the moment I walked away.
She concluded with, “To them I am grateful for the lessons learned and say a hearty, ‘Good riddance.’”
Amen sister! Life is too short for friends like that. I would rather spend my time reading books like this! The book is a must-read for any woman who’s lost a friend.