Release Date: December 20, 2011
Publisher: Random House | Ballantine
Pages: 349 pages
Source & Format: Library; Paperback
Amazon | Goodreads
Summary (from Amazon)
When Rachel Bertsche first moves to Chicago, she’s thrilled to finally share a zip code, let alone an apartment, with her boyfriend. But shortly after getting married, Bertsche realizes that her new life is missing one thing: friends. Sure, she has plenty of BFFs—in New York and San Francisco and Boston and Washington, D.C. Still, in her adopted hometown, there’s no one to call at the last minute for girl talk over brunch or a reality-TV marathon over a bottle of wine. Taking matters into her own hands, Bertsche develops a plan: She’ll go on fifty-two friend-dates, one per week for a year, in hopes of meeting her new Best Friend Forever.
Thoughts on MWF Seeking BFF
I first spotted this book on the stands at Target, and I was intrigued by the concept. While I'm not quite a "newlywed" anymore, I really identified with the description on the back. There is this weird thing that I'm convinced happens to a lot of people after they graduate from college and start a job - it's like they are a little bit adrift in the world friend-wise. No matter how many friends they made in college, chances are high that they didn't all get jobs in the same city as you.
In high school, you're surrounded by people your age and have a pool of people to choose from when making friends. The same thing goes for college - and you often have a larger selection and can make friends that will become even closer to you in that time. And then graduation. You toss the cap, turn the tassel, and show up for your first day of work. Maybe you're one of the few that ends up surrounded by people you are in exactly the same life stage as you. But most likely not. There might be one or two, but there will also be people all over the spectrum. And you don't go to work to make friends (although it's nice if you have friends at work). I give you all this background information to tell you that I was predisposed to like MWF Seeking BFF because it's the stage of life I'm in right now.
And so, I hate to say that I was really disappointed by this book. I was expecting to read about Rachel's journey and feel like I could relate. Instead, I just felt incredibly put off by her. Here's the thing, even at before her 52 friend-date journey, Rachel had an active social life. She was in a book club, still talked to her best friend's from home, and ate lunch every day with the friends she made at work. It wasn't like she didn't have any friends - she just didn't have the specific kind of friend she wanted.
Her attitude and description of the type of friend she did want just made me feel like she didn't appreciate the people in her life that she already had. I understand that maybe she hadn't met her best friend yet, but she certainly wasn't alone in the city. So, while some of her stories were funny, I was mostly frustrated by how many people she had right in front of her that she just dismissed as not being it.
The whole thing seemed like it was more about the "concept" she wanted to write a book around rather than genuinely trying to meet new people. I don't want to say that she wasn't legitimately doing her best to make friends - it's just that everything seemed a little gimmicky.
There were also a lot of research sections - like discussing studies that showed friendships's effect on your lifespan or things of that nature. And honestly, I mostly skipped that stuff. For a book that originally seemed like a memoir, the more analytical and overly detailed information about her research just didn't fit with the tone of the rest of the book. It felt so out of place and wasn't really woven into the book in a way that made sense. There'd be like pages of personal stories and then BAM! pages of studies and statistics.
The thing I can say I liked about the book was that it really challenged me to think of new things I could do or places I could go to meet new people. If you do the same things every single day, you aren't going to get different results (aka meet new people). So I did like that it helped me realize that you actually have to be willing to put yourself out there (and possible get rejected) if you want to form lasting friendships.
The best way I can think to describe my feelings on this book: like I showed up for a date with someone I met online and it turned out that their profile picture was from ten years ago... They may still be attractive now, but I'm still a little letdown that what I got wasn't what I'd been shown.
"Popular culture has made it okay to yell 'I want a man!' from the rooftops, so why are we still embarrassed to say, 'I want a best friend'?"
"The unfortunate truth is that we live in a society that's not only suspicious of people who declare they're looking for friends, but thinks friendliness in general must be qualified. We're worried that an overt show of camaraderie will be taken the wrong way."