The Art of Friendshipby Published 24 Apr 2018
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The Art of Friendship Ebook Description
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We all expect our friendships from childhood to last forever...
Libby and Kit have been best friends ever since the day 11-year-old Kit bounded up to Libby's bedroom window. They've seen each other through first kisses, bad break-ups and everything in-between. It's almost 20 years since Libby moved to Sydney, but they've remained close, despite the distance and the different paths their lives have taken.
So when Libby announces she's moving back to Melbourne, Kit is overjoyed. They're best friends - practically family - so it doesn't matter that she and Libby now have different ...well, different everything, actually, or so it seems when they're finally living in the same city again.
Or does it?
The Art of Friendship Reviews
This is the perfect gift for Mother’s Day or just a great read for women of any age. Australian Lisa Ireland looks at just what makes some friendships last a lifetime and others for only a short while. Libby and Kit are childhood friends growing up in Melbourne then Libby gets married and moves away to another city. The two friends correspond the whole time and when years later, Libby’s husband gets the dream job back in Melbourne, the two friends are so excited to be living close to each other again. But have they changed too much to go back to the way they were? And what about the new friends Libby has made of the wives of her husband’s new work colleagues? What secrets do they hide behind their Stepford Wives façade? Throw in an only child with anxiety, a handsome private school principal and you get a great read! - Leanne
What an incredible novel this turned out to be! In Lisa Ireland’s latest, she examines the intricacies of friendship and asks the question: do lifelong friendships have a use by date? But friendship isn’t the only issue to come under the microscope. Lisa also takes a look at parenting, self-confidence, the lengths people will go to fit in with their chosen crowd, the tendency to unfairly judge others, relationships and domestic violence. It’s a smorgasbord of social issues but just like a puzzle, all of these pieces fit neatly together, forming a picture of contemporary Australian life that many will be able to relate to.
Libby and Kit have been friends since they were eleven. Now forty, they’ve spent the majority of the last twenty years navigating their friendship by distance. When the two finally live in the same city again, they’re initially thrilled, but very rapidly their friendship begins to stretch under the strain of differing views and lifestyles. Now, I’m just going to cut right to the heart of it here: I really did not like Libby. Not in the beginning, not in the middle, and not at the end. She was obsessed with perceived social status to the point of making herself sick. She was insufferably hovering over her son to the point of stifling him. Her low confidence in herself made her short-change her husband over and over. She was a wanna-be even though she didn’t even want to be. Judgemental people with a low self-esteem can be incredible toxic, and I saw shades of many people I have known throughout my life in Libby. Kit, on the other hand, I adored. Was this Lisa Ireland’s intention? Maybe, maybe not, but her skill as a writer was entirely on display as Libby repeatedly misjudged Kit. You didn’t have to like Libby to love this story. Through Libby’s toxic behaviour towards Kit, Lisa demonstrated the minefield that friendship can sometimes be. Kit reached a point where obligation began to outweigh affection, and what an interesting question this is. We can all probably cite an example of a friendship we’ve had that has been imbalanced. You’re the one who always calls or turns up, etc. At what point do we just pack it in and demote the friendship to an acquaintance?
As well as being thought provoking, this is a highly entertaining read. The ‘Arcadia-wives’ cracked me up with their superficiality. I really liked Kit’s blossoming relationship and her grand gesture towards the end. But what I really loved about this novel, what made it really perfect for me, was the reality check. Not everything pans out perfectly at the end, tied up with a neat bow. Some things are resolved, but others just continue as they are, much like life itself. Lisa shows us the importance of not taking things at face value. There is more to any person you meet beyond the facade they present to the world. Whether you want to wipe them or dig deeper is on you. The Art of Friendship is Lisa Ireland at the top of her game. It’s a smart and entertaining novel guided by a very big moral compass. Women of all ages will enjoy this story and I highly recommend it as a book club title. Perfect timing for Mother’s Day too!
Thanks is extended to Pan Macmillan Australia for providing me with a copy The Art of Friendship for review.
Eleven-year-old Libby and her parents had had to sell their farm and move into the city. Woodvale in Melbourne was nothing like the family was used to, but it didn’t take Libby long to make friends. Kit lived over the road from Libby, and the very first day she had spotted Libby at her bedroom window, Kit declared they would be best friends forever. As they moved through school together, first primary then high school, their friendship didn’t falter. It was when Kit was in London that Libby met Cameron, married him and moved to Sydney.
Through letters, emails and long phone calls, the two friends remained close – it was twenty years later when both Libby and Kit were in their late thirties, and Libby’s son Harry was thirteen, that Cam announced he’d procured a top job in Melbourne. They were returning home.
Kit was ecstatic as was Libby. But would their friendship be the same? Kit was Harry’s godmother and thought the world of him, as he did her. But Libby’s life went a different way when she, Cam and Harry moved into Arcadia Lakes; a new, elite subdivision with elegant housing and much more. Keeping up with the wives of the executives was something which scared Libby half to death, but she would do it. But at what cost? Would Kit and Libby remain friends? Would their lifetime of friendship sustain any issues that might arise?
The Art of Friendship by Aussie author Lisa Ireland is a look at how people grow; how they change and how they remain the same. The difference between childhood friendships, and adult friendships is vast – that person you befriended as a child might not be one you’d befriend as an adult. But what happens when that friendship goes from childhood through to adulthood; when two people turn out to be vastly different from each other? The complexity of our lives – from being parents, to careers, basically to choices we make – is real and emotional. Lisa Ireland has tackled all issues in The Art of Friendship with sensitivity and she makes it very realistic. Highly recommended.
With thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia for my ARC to read and review.
It gives thought to the ‘type’ of friendships you have through out your life.
An enjoyable read
I always look forward to a new Lisa Ireland novel without exception, so perhaps it seems strange that I’ve waited almost a month after release to read and review The Art of Friendship. I was waiting for a less busy time to dedicate myself to reading this wonderful story and I’m glad I did because I didn’t do much else besides read once I’d opened it. The Art of Friendship is a wonderful story that pushes both the characters and the reader to their limits. It makes you question how you see your friendships and ask yourself bluntly, is this working?
The story is about two friends from childhood, Libby and Kit. Kit is the first friend Libby makes when she moves to an outer suburb of Melbourne and the girls are close friends through their teens and into their early twenties. They are separated physically for nearly twenty years after Libby moves to Sydney. Libby and her family then return to Melbourne after her husband Cameron accepts a job offer that’s nearly too good to be true. Libby and Kit will be able to see each other much more frequently and relive the close friendship of their youth.
Well, that’s the way it should have gone but then we wouldn’t have such a great story. Over the years, Kit and Libby have become very different people with differing values, opinions and life paths. Being closer just exemplifies the differences between them and it’s uncomfortable for them both. Is this a friendship that should have run its course a long time ago or is it worth repairing? Lisa Ireland throws up this difficult conundrum that I’m pretty sure most people would have faced over time. What happens when your friends don’t match your life? Because if variety is the spice of life, it sure feels awkward and not-quite-right.
Over the course of the story, the differences between Kit and Libby are highlighted, along with the major struggles in their lives. Libby is a stay at home mum, university dropout and has put all her eggs in the one basket – son Harry. She has put her heart and soul into Harry’s life being just right. Dealing with the stress of living very closely with the wives of her husband’s colleagues only fuels Libby’s need to be liked and perfect. Sure, it’s all a bit Stepford-wife like but Libby knows she has to succeed here. So when Harry turns out not to be her perfect petal, she is beyond devastated. Lashing out at Kit is one way she lets out her frustrations. Kit is the total opposite – part time lecturer, job helping women experiencing domestic violence, single, no kids and comfortable in herself. But when Kit starts a relationship with Libby’s arch-nemesis, the friendship turns to home truths and low blows.
What I really admired about The Art of Friendship is that it wasn’t afraid to show the ugly bits. That Harry might be a bit of a weird kid. That Libby would sell her soul to be perfect and part of the in crowd. That Kit can be too outspoken and passionate. That sometimes, friendship is going through the motions rather than truly caring for each other. It was a bit uncomfortable at times as the truths were laid bare and the characters revealed to be far from perfect. But I just wanted to keep reading. Even though I found Libby a bit lacklustre in ambition beyond Harry and appearance, she was still adequately redeemed at the end of the novel. I must admit to being Team Kit, as I felt she was open to her faults and at ease. Overall, I loved the story. The pacing is tight, the secrets satisfying and pages just turned themselves. Overall, this is Lisa’s best book to date.
Thank you to Pan Macmillan for the copy of this book. My review is honest.