The Art of Friendshipby Published 24 Apr 2018
|The Art of Friendship.pdf|
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
Three and a half stars.
Libby and Kit first met as eleven year olds, after Libby and her family moved to Woodvale. Over the years, despite living in different places at times, the friendship has remained strong. So when Libby announces she and the family are moving back to Melbourne, Kit is overjoyed. She will get to see more of Libby and also Libby’s son Harry, to whom she is godmother. It all sounds ideal. What could possibly go wrong? Libby, on the other hand, has some reservations about the move. More so after she arrives and meets her husband Cam’s work colleagues and their wives. But if it helps Cam’s career she is prepared to try and make the best of it. Till events take a turn that Libby never expected and friendships are threatened.
This is an interesting read and the characters are identifiable, although I found for various reasons I didn’t really like either of the two main characters. However I could understand where they were coming from. It does make you think about the amount of unspoken comments, feelings and hurts that are often repressed in some relationships as people try and maintain a friendship. To me the whole situation at Arcadia Lakes sounded like a nightmare, being managed and organised like that. This provides an interesting look at female friendships and also other relationships that are sometimes fraught with problems. Another good Australian novel that is easy to read and quick to power through.
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.
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
Friendships, we have them and we lose them. Sometimes we can’t live without them, other times we are up in arms about ending them. The Art of Friendship is a new novel that puts one great big ring around a friendship between two women that formed in childhood, has lasted the distance but is now at a breaking point.
The Art of Friendship explores how one relationship formed from childhood, grows and changes. Ireland asks the reader to consider; what happens to long standing friendships when we grow into adults? For the leads of this novel, Kit and Libby, they have supported one another through many good times and bad. Now twenty years into their friendship and despite the physical distance that has separated them, the two have made an effort to maintain their friendship. When Libby finally returns home to Melbourne, a chance to be back in one another’s lives, in a full time capacity, presents itself. For Kit, this is welcome news as she considers Libby to be family. However, events and feelings transpire that begin to show just how different these two women now are. Can their friendships survive and thrive, or are their differences just too great to overcome?
Friendships are an everyday part of our lives. What I loved about this novel was Lisa Ireland’s ability to tackle in the everyday. Her novel captures the essence of normality. Her tone and overall writing style is one that sits well with me. Ireland’s writing is best described as down to earth and incredibly straightforward. Ireland tells it as it is, she takes ordinary moments in our lives and is able to put the issues under the spotlight. She draws out our grievances, reservations and inner thoughts to a tee.
Although the title and main subject matter does concern itself with the emotionally fraught territory of friendship, there are plenty of other just as compelling themes for the reader to explore in this novel. With the overriding theme of friendship, Ireland draws all readers, not matter their creed, into her novel. However, running alongside this main concept is a great side focus on careers, love, relationships, family backgrounds, marriage, parenting, finances, personal satisfaction, anxiety and bullying. It sounds like a lot of ground to cover, but the way in which Ireland tackles these everyday problems is what makes this book both resonating and truly special.
I really loved Ireland’s characterisation in her previous novel, The Shape of Us and her new novel again demonstrates her aptitude in this region. Although you make not like both of the main characters (Libby may get under your skin) it is impossible to deny that they have been composed exceptionally well. I enjoyed following of the lives of both leads, it was an entertaining and at times self reflective process. I did stop and reflect on my own friendship history. It was a little confronting at first, but the insight I gained from Ireland and the heartfelt journey her characters embark upon was well worth the emotional ride.
I appreciated the set up of this novel very much, within the unfolding narrative we see a friendship form from childhood, solidify in high school, cement itself in university years and slowly take a downfall in adult years. It is an interesting cycle to say the least. The parts I enjoyed the most were the flashbacks to the very early days in Kim and Libby’s friendship. I loved the being transported back to a time (late 80’s/90’s) I look upon with great fondness.
Ireland’s closure of The Art of Friendship is not a completely straightforward one. After some soul searching, confrontation, emotions, tears and some unresolved issues for the characters of The Art of Friendship, Ireland chooses to exit the novel at this point. For me, this ending worked well. That’s real life, in a nutshell! The Art of Friendship is one novel that really hit home, I uncovered some hard truths, but I am thankful for the experience I shared with Lisa Ireland and her character set.
The Art of Friendship is a book that I heartily recommend. It is a very contemporary and connective novel that examines a commonplace aspect of our lives, friendships. Do we need certain friendships as much we think we do? I’ll leave you with that final note to explore.
The Art of Friendship is book #41 of the Australian Women Writers Challenge
Childhood best friends since the age of eleven, Kit and Libby have always been there for one another over the years. A friendship that would last forever or would it?
It's been almost 20 years since Libby moved from Melbourne to go and live in Sydney, but she and Kit have always kept in contact. So when Kit hears that Libby is returning to Melbourne she couldn't be happier and can't wait to see Libby again. Only it seems things are different between Kit and Libby and their strong friendship bond they once had all those years ago is starting to become strained. Will they be able to get back their strong friendship they once experienced when they were younger or is it too late?
The Art of Friendship by Aussie author Lisa Ireland is the first book I've read by this author and what a terrific book to begin with. I thoroughly loved this book and I'm looking forward to reading more books by this author. Highly recommended.