Author: Lisa Verge Higgins
Lisa Verge Higgins has written the story of four fast friends in their late 30’s who have been together since college. They have been through a lot in the decades of their friendship.
There is one point of reference to their friendship, that occurred in senior year, referred to only as ‘that weekend’ which saw them put in place a list of rules to always follow in relationships. Two decades later and the rules are still in play, and interventions held when the friends think they are necessary.
Our four main characters are at a period of great upheaval in their lives and it is a time that truly demonstrates their cultural and socio-economic differences. In a lot of ways these four friends could not be more different and it seems a little far-fetched that such a perfect cross section became the best of friends. Wendy is of the moneyed Country Club set and working in a museum, Dhara is an Indian-American with traditional religious parents and a heart specialist, Kelly is the computer genius, adopted Gloucester foundling raised by working class Irish parents and Marta is, I think, a Catholic Italian lawyer who just made junior partner.
Things seem to be on track for the foursome, and the rules seem to be working. But when the cracks appear it seems the rules that have saved their hearts in the past may not be the ones that they need for their future. Throughout the story we are often shown glimpses of ‘that weekend’ through flashback chapters or through the girls discussions. It isn’t until the end that we discover the full extent of heartbreak the girls faced ‘that weekend’ and I think that was important. Everyone faces a cataclysmic event in life that changes everything and these four friends went through them together. They are now coming up to another period where everything is going to change and they are going to go through this together too.
Higgins has written a very rare friendship, and a very special one, that does not come along often. A friendship that offers unconditional support even when your friends can see the heartache coming and a friendship devoid of I-Told-You-So’s. I think the extreme differences between these women just make the friendship more special.
All of the characters are well written and vivid but none come close to the four women central to the story line. The men these storylines depend upon are written well but not quite so fleshed as the ladies. We never really get into their heads but they are never central to the story. They are only integral characters in the way they interact with the ladies and the way they affect their lives.
I have been thinking, since finishing the book, that Wendy was not quite as clearly written; we never got quite as far into her head but it has just occurred to me now how perfect that is for her character. Wendy is a very private person who doesn’t easily let others in so we can’t expect to know her intimately.
We follow all four through some big changes and they are all at the forefront of the story but there seems to be more in the way of answers for Dhara than for the other three. I love this because it doesn’t take us through the heartbreak and the rebuilding to tie everything up with a pretty pink bow leaving no loose ends – apart from the fact that the real world doesn’t work that way I think it would have really detracted from what Higgins did with this story. We are left with some of the issues resolved and all four women have the potential for a happily ever after but it’s still something they will need to work for.
I do love this book, the intimate and genuine once in a lifetime friendship, and the characters. I love that not everything was neatly tied up but at the same time I would have loved an epilogue set 6 or 12 months later that lets us know how things are going for the women.