Julie Klam admits from the outset of Friendkeeping that she is a middle-aged person who uses the term “BFF” without irony. In other words, she takes her friendships very, very seriously, and tends to them like the treasures they are. It is significant that her most meaningful friendships date back to “prehistoric times, when people had big Michael Douglas Wall Street cell phones, with no texting and no personal computing or e-mail, IMing, tweeting or Facebooking. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times; in order to communicate, we actually had to pick up the phone and call each other.”
This book is about what makes friendships work or fail, and why they are as essential to our happiness as love, or chocolate, or “Dallas” coming back on TV. Klam is funny. Not cute or amusing, but laugh-out-loud, borderline too-much-information funny, whether she’s writing about what to do when you hate your friend’s boyfriend or reminiscing about the time she, er, needed a hand in the restroom during her wedding reception. When she recalls how she and her friend Jancee stood in the toilet stall, laughing so hard no sound came out of their mouths, you will likely be doing the same.
This book is about why friendships are as essential to our happiness as love, or chocolate, or "Dallas" coming back on TV.
Klam also is not above admitting to her occasional less-than-friendly moments, which keep the book nicely balanced. When her aggressively vegetarian friend visits, “she walks into my kitchen, she picks up every box, can, or package and scans the ingredients, shaking her head and slapping her forehead, tsking, muttering in Yiddish,” Klam writes. “Sometimes if I know she’s coming over I’ll stop at the deli and get a box of pink Hostess Sno Balls just to give her a little something to do.”
It seemed Klam had found her niche as an essayist with two fine collections (2010’s You Had Me at Woof and 2011’s Love at First Bark) that were ostensibly about dogs, but were really about life, love and purpose. With Friendkeeping, Klam proves that she is no one-trick pony (or pooch).