It may be an old cliché but it was the cover of the book that I judged. It was the cover that got me all excited to read this book. First of all I’m a huge fan of the TV show Facts of Life. What’s that got to do with anything? Well Lisa Whelchel just happens to be ‘Blair’ from Facts of Life. Remember? She was the beautiful blonde but somewhat snobby rich girl who roomed with Tootie, Jo and Natalie at Eastland Academy for girls, along with Mrs. Garrett as their counselor. Classic 80’s TV. I was even a fan when they all graduated and opened up ‘Edna’s Edibles’ later to become a quirky boutique called ‘Over Our Heads’. Or when Beverly Ann took over for Mrs. Garrett, or when when George and Andy are included in the cast... I could go on and on. See, told you I was a fan. A huge fan.
Secondly I was drawn to the actual title. Friendship for Grown-ups. Grown-up is a word we typically use when talking about adults with our kids. We don’t usually say, ‘Watch out for that grown-up crossing the street!’ when we’re around other adults. As children grown-ups are something to admire; they’re independent, they’ve got it all together, they make their own decisions, they drive, they’re cool. Then once we’re one of those grown-ups we realize it’s not cool after all. It’s hard being a grown-up. It’s even harder making friends as a grown-up.
Suddenly other grown-ups aren’t instantly your best friend if you share an ice cream sandwich with them. They don’t flock around you if you happen to show up at the playground with a soccer ball. Grown-up friends are a lot more finicky and the selection process turns out to be as challenging as winning Survivor – sometimes we're just left standing holding a smoking torch.
In this book, Lisa shares her struggles with gaining friendships in the grown-up world. Although this isn’t a boo-hoo-woe-is-me-I’m-a-celebrity kind of book, Lisa gets real honest about her inabilities to trust, to open up, or to go deep in any kind of friendship. To my surprise it turns out that Lisa and I had much more in common than just our blonde hair. Like Lisa, I also married a pastor, moved to Texas, and became a mom. During this process for each of us our longing for genuine friendship grew and we both found ourselves on our knees asking the Lord to bring us that friend that would fulfill that desire.
Throughout this book, Lisa assures us that she hasn’t “arrived”, but she’s willing to share her experiences and the lessons she’s learned with her readers to help us along in our grown-up friendship journey. She shares practical tips like taking the time to nurture the friendships we have by sending an email, texts or a quick phone call just to check in with a friend. She explains the “classification” of friends not to discriminate but to really take a heart check and see where we stand with our friends. Is a casual friend the kind we really want to bear our soul to? What about our really close friend? Is she the one we just keep casually on the side to go shopping for shoes with? Lisa tells us that it’s ok to have friends that serve different purposes in our lives. Most importantly we need to be real with our friends. It’s hard to overcome walls that have been built up by dishonesty or feigned feelings when it comes to friends.
Lisa’s down-to-earth approach is refreshing. Reading her book was like sitting down with a good friend who is willing to guide and accompany you on your grown-up friendship journey. Probably the best part of the book is the appendices found at the end which include even more practical advice and tips. Everything from prayer to conversation is included here.
I really enjoyed Lisa Whelchel’s Friendship for Grown-ups. This is a book I plan to keep right in the front of my bookshelf so that I can turn to it when I'm feeling all alone on the playground. I may be all grown-up but I’ll never be too old to play with my friends. So anybody want to be my friend? I'll bring my Strawberry Shortcake doll and some ice cream.
Disclosure: I received this book free from Thomas Nelson Publishers as part of their BookSneeze.com