Readers have remarked on this book's similarity to the 1988 movie Beaches (Special Edition) and the book Beaches: A Novel. They are only similar because female friendship stories typically have the same elements -- strong loyalty, support, and love that weather the tests of time and the changes that the women go through as they leave childhood behind and become the women they are going to be. Certainly the situations that crop up in the novel are ones that other lifelong female friends have faced: betrayal, jealousy, envy -- and the root of those feelings is that even best friends compare themselves to each other and often wonder at that "path not taken" as they reach the stage of self actualization. Sure it's almost a cliche that the hard-driven career minded single woman wishes for a husband and family (that's Tully) while the downtrodden, self-sacrificing homemaker (and this is Kate) wants more glamour and a sense of reaching a goal of "being somebody" in her own right. Don't most of us, maybe only secretly or momentarily, wonder sometimes -- "what if?" Friendships and relationships have stages and don't stay the same throughout the course of a life -- some don't last even as others evolve and are the very foundation of another's life. Tully and Kate have many ups and downs through their years, but one fact remains; the girls know each other inside and out. And they count on that.
I think it's nice now and again to touch base with the concept of a being or having a true friend. This story of Tully and Kate helps us to perhaps re-evaluate where we ourselves are on the continuum of our own friendships. It is unusual for anyone to really have a "perfect life" or really "have it all" (despite what we're told -- there are always sacrifices to be made) and I would say that though some women friends come into your life for "a reason or a season" (as the song says), others are there for the duration. As the old saying goes, however, to have a friend, you must BE one. Mistakes are usually made, petty squabbles can turn into major disagreements, and resentment can destroy the relationships we have. This book showed that despite all that, two women could be there for each other when the chips went down. I'd like to believe that all of us will have that kind of friend.
I'm going to go search out Kristin Hannah's other books as this was the first one by her that I've read.