Every once in a while, a reader picks up a book that touches their heart and soul. Often this book catches them by surprise, as was the case with this book. I grew up reading and loving the Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. I longed for friendships like theirs. I’m much older now – and so are the sisters – and this book tapped into that and reminded me of how far I’ve come and the realities of being human, and even a woman.
The book is set 10 years after the girls lost their mythical pants in “Forever in Blue.” The girls are all dating men they love and seem to be doing alright. However, Tibby has moved away to Australia, and the intimacy between the four of them is fading. This is upsetting to all of them after the years of closeness. When they all receive tickets to return to Santorini from Tibby, they are thrilled. This is what they’ve been waiting for, the chance to rekindle the love between them. When they arrive, things are not what they seem to be, and they are left heartbroken.
As the story goes on, their friendship seems to crumble further. They are all suffering, and are dealing with grief in different ways. Even though they want to reach out to one another, they are hesitant. We follow them separately as months go by and they embark on unique journeys to find answers and eventually bringing them back together in a way they never expected.
Ya’ll, I read this book in one day. As soon as I started, I was so happy to be back with these old friends of mine that I wanted to soak up every moment. And then as things unfolded, I was sucked in. I had to keep reading to make sure these friends of mine turned out okay. I even downloaded the audiobook on Overdrive so I could read while I had to do other things.
This was heartbreaking for me. As always, Ann Brashares has unique voices and personalities within these characters. I understand their choices and see something I can relate to in each one. Whomever was speaking, I felt like I was suffering and going through this transformation with them. I’ve also read “The Last Summer (of You and Me) by Brashares, and I always admired her writing. It feels casual, like listening to a friend, and then a line will stick you right in the heart. This happened over and over again for me while reading this.
I guess it is just where I am in my life, but every page of this sung to me. I’ve had beautiful friendships, some have lasted – others haven’t. Looking back on all of them, it’s bittersweet. The ones that have ended still hurt. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants always seemed like this sisterhood that was impenetrable. These girls were solid, and nothing was going to change that. They were something to aspire to, a friendship I’ve always wanted, and not necessarily had. To see this friendship struggling under the pressures of adult life was significant. It was a truth that I haven’t read so much, and I enjoyed the curtain being pulled back.
My favorite character has always been Bridget, and although I still love and relate to her, I didn’t feel the same attachment to any of them. The way Bridget handles the tragedies and changes in her life broke my heart. They make sense for her character, especially since she’d lost her mother so young. But it was hard to follow her as she literally walked away from her life and the roundabout way she found her way back.
I am already wanting to reread this book. There were so many lines I think I could tab that would mean so much to me. One example is:
It was a testament to his love that he always let her happiness sweep him along and make him happy.
Others were more lyrical, but I’ll have to find them during a reread. I’m hoping to read it again sometime next year so I can enjoy it again. I will be keeping it, I feel like as I go through life it will mean different things to me. This is weird, since I recently got rid of the Sisterhood books since they didn’t speak to me anymore. After reading this adult perspective of the girls, I’m almost wishing I hadn’t.