There are very few things in life that can withstand the test of time like the bonds of a true friendship. Casual friends come and go with the ebb and flow of life but a true friendship is different. A true friendship is elastic–it can stretch without snapping. I was lucky enough to find such a friendship early in life when I became one side of a best friend triangle. For a decade we were inseparable, even calling each other’s parents mom and dad. My mom always warned me that things would be different when we had to attend different high schools but our friendship never changed. We remained very close, talked every day, and saw each other several times a week.
As I get older I find myself reflecting back on how certain events in my youth shaped me into the person I am now. I also find myself wondering how differently I would have handled situations if I’d had a little more maturity. When the time came for us to go off to college we all chose different schools. But we were committed to maintaining our friendship, even planning our spring break and summer trips well in advance so we’d be sure to see each other. Unfortunately life doesn’t always follow the plan you have set in your mind. Our vision for the future included dual maids of honor at weddings, dual godmothers to future children, and raising trouble in a nursing home together when we were old and gray.
Our plans came to a crashing halt with one middle-of-the-night phone call delivering the devastating news that one side of our best friend triangle had been killed in a car accident. I didn’t know how to handle my grief along with the grief of my other best friend as we mourned the loss of our sister in spirit. I know I didn’t handle it well. I pulled away, I shut her out, I closed myself off from everyone. It just hurt too badly to be near her, knowing what we had lost. For her part, she was doing the same thing so our friendship began to just fade away. We didn’t know how to go from being a triangle to a twosome.
The rift between us remained for years, until a chance meeting in our hometown almost a decade later brought us back together again. We slowly rebuilt our friendship, knowing it was never going to be the same but still wanting to recapture some of what we had lost. It took us several years to settle into a new friendship. It was different, we had to feel our way through our past and work through the loss before we could reclaim our friendship.
As I’m getting older and I find myself reflecting more on the stuff I’ve gone through in my life I’ve started gravitating towards books that I can relate to on a different level. One author that always seems to hit me in the heart with her storylines is Kristin Hannah. She’s a #1 New York times bestseller, and her books which include Firefly Lane and Home Front, always seem to evoke strong emotions in me as I read. She makes me laugh, she makes me cry, and she makes me reflect on my own life. I’ve been a huge fan of her writing for years, eagerly waiting for her newest novel to release. Her novels touch a chord with so many women—with stories that are emotionally rich and deal with real life issues that are universal. Her newest novel Fly Away is about love, family, motherhood, loss, and redemption… and mostly about best friends.
Oh, how I loved this book. I read the entire thing in one day because I couldn’t put it down. The kids ate cereal for dinner and went to bed 30 minutes late because I just could not put the book down. I want so badly to tell you all about it and why it hit my heart so hard but I don’t want to spoil the story for you. It’s one of those novels where you have to read it and experience it to get the full effect. Fly Away is the follow up novel to Firefly Lane, another favorite of mine.
Fly Away continues the story of Tully and Kate, best friends for three decades. I will tell you that I was sobbing like a baby by page 30. I am not a crier so for me that’s the sign of a good novel. The fear I have always had of what would happen to my kids and my family if I died is what made the novel so incredibly heart-wrenching for me personally. I could feel the pain of the characters and I could see the events happening to my own family. I wanted to reach through the page and shake a couple of the characters a few times because I could see what was coming. But I understood them. I understood why they made the decisions they did and why they chose to walk a particular path. When I finished the book I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I only have book hangovers when I read something that really makes me think and feel deeply. This book did both. I know so many of you share my taste in novels and I highly recommend this one. You don’t have to have read Firefly Lane first but I would. The story in Fly Away is so much more poignant if you start with Firefly Lane. Now I’m going to call my best friend.
Fly Away is now available in paperback. For a chance to win a copy and a $100 Visa gift card just leave an answer to the following question in the comments below: How did you meet your best friends? You can visit their website to read an excerpt and watch a couple of videos that bring you into the world of Fly Away.
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