Monday, January 2, 2012
A TRIBUTE TO FRIENDSHIP
Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever
Author: Judith Marshall
Reviewed by Fran Lewis
Elizabeth Reilly Hayden is about to learn the true meaning of love, friendship and loyalty. The Vice President of Human Resources of Tekflex, her job is meaningful, stressful and presently she has to create severance packages for many employees. Hard, not very rewarding but yet, it needed to be done. With the help of her assistant Rita, Elizabeth gets through it. Elizabeth has a special relationship with a man named Sam who would like after so many years to cement it into something more permanent and lasting. But, Sam knows that she won’t give up being near her kids, her friends and her job when she learns he is about to take a new one in New York. But, there is more. Blindsided by what he tells her little did she suspect that the next casualty on the downsizing list would be her. Now, what would she do as her life is about to take on a serious new twist, downward spiral and she might even lose the one man that cares about her the most. Husbands May Come and Go but Friends are Forever is a captivating, humorous, heartbreaking and definitely reality-based book written by author Judith Marshall.
The book begins on March 7which is a date that I will never forget. As Elizabeth tells the story in her own words of having her job deleted, preparing redundancy packages for unsuspecting employees about to be fired, little did she know she was next. Tough day dealing with this situation, her boyfriend, Sam offering her a solution, she decides to remain in her own world, never changing her surroundings or lifestyle in order to commit to this amazing man.
When the reality of losing her job, Sam leaving for his conference in Switzerland Elizabeth went about trying to find another job but to no avail. With the support of her best friend Karen, she was able to try and start over again. Elizabeth had three constants in her life: Sam, her job and her best friend Karen. But, what happens next will rock her world, change her perspective on life and definitely give her more than pause for thought about what really matters to her as her best friend is killed in a motorcycle accident and then the real mystery begins. What really happened to Karen? Why was she riding with her part time boyfriend on a hairpin turn and dangerous road? Calling Sam to borrow his van to ride to where the accident happened and help her family deal with the tragedy did not prove comforting for Elizabeth. Their relationship was definitely strained as Sam would move to New York and her life was now in limbo with no permanent decisions to be made.
Flashing back to how she met all of the amazing women she calls her friends will help the reader understand the gravity of what happened to Karen, the bond she formed with each of these special women and how their lives were impacted by Karen. Arlene, Gidge, Elizabeth, Jo, Karen and Rosie will show you what happens when friends bond, lives are ripped apart and how true friendships can help you endure what life hands you no matter what. Karen plays a pivotal part in their lives as the author flashes back to how they met, their careers, their marriages and much more. Strong women, strong friendships and ties that will never break are some of the important issues brought to light in this novel. As the reality of the tragedy sets in and the past becomes part of their present you become so involved and enveloped in the lives of these characters you feel as if you know them. Each character is unique. Gidge is outspoken and has her own style or way of expressing herself. Arlene more centered. Elizabeth taking control when the others needed direction. Rosie with her positive attitude and flare for fitness motivates the group to keep going and prepare for the events ahead. Jo, who spent her marriage as someone’s punching bag, has finally learned to fight back. Karen, the link or glue that kept them together will always be there for them.
The flashbacks that described Karen’s life, her mother’s struggling and encounters with men, Elizabeth finally standing up to her father to go to a sweet sixteen party for Gidge, trying to fit in at the party, learning the ropes, this story is filled with much more than the tragedy. Each one of the six women had her own struggles to overcome. Arlene constantly smoking, having fought with Karen before the accident happened, Rosie trying to make peace and Gidge just angry at the world, looking for a fight yet a true friend to them all. Switching from the present to the past in one effortless motion the author sweeps the reader from the year 2000 back in time to the 50’s when all these girls wanted was a boyfriend, a drink, quick smoke and some real fun. As “the girls,” as they are referred to, make their way to Lake Tahoe, for their usual jaunt for fun, each one is deep in their own thoughts about Karen, their pasts and hope that this trip will help Karen’s family and help each one of them find the answers they long for as to what happened to their lifelong friend, why she was where she was and with who and possibly uncover a lot more than they bargained for.
Recounting the past sometimes help you deal with the present. As author Judith Marshall tells the story of each of the six women, how their lives intertwined, their friendships began and why they are still together. You can feel the anger each one has harbored for years, the frustrations they faced and still feel and the uncertainty of what really happened to Karen which will definitely keep the reader glued to the printed page until the answer is given, the reasons made clear and the end result will surprise you. As they arrive at Lake Tahoe and being making preparations for the memorial service, funeral arrangements plus those to call who might want to attend the author relates many of the happy, sad and humorous times the girls spent with Karen and how Elizabeth felt a special bond with this woman and why her death impacted not only the others but her the hardest. You can feel the tension in the air as they go about doing their various chores, Rosie burning off some excess energy with a morning run, Jo trying not to smoke too much, Gidge cooking and the rest just hanging on to the their memories as Elizabeth takes control over the final preparations and thinks begin to move in place.
The story is told within a one -month time span from beginning until the final conclusion. Each chapter has events that helped link these women together as teens and the bond that formed between each one of them in relation to Liz, our narrator. Arlene’s rant and rave when her husband was going bankrupt and the fun they had going to a bar when she met Sam. The practical joke they played on someone that stood Karen up and the many incidents recounted are heartfelt and quite funny. But the one thing that is evident is the loyalty, faithfulness and caring they had for each other and the true meaning of friendship comes through loud and clear in every chapter both past and present. Still the mystery surrounding Karen’s death lingers on until the very end when the pieces just might fit together.
Some confessions should stay where they belong within the person as Arlene relates what happened between her and Karen to Liz causing yet another rift. Liz decides to confront the one person who might be able to fill in the blanks and pieces of a very fragile puzzle and when she does what she learns will shatter her world and many others even more. Emotions run high, the truth is told and five friends find themselves with a decision to make. What really happened to Karen? Why is she gone?
Author Judith Marshall brings to light many important issues. Abusive relationships and how one friend saved someone from self -destruction. Dealing with betrayals, lies, deceits and hoping that these women will stay friends at the end. Liz’s Aunt VI went through rough times and abuse but was her rock and her center. Then, Karen’s daughter enters the picture and how would they handle telling her what they learned as Julie relates her last moments with her mom.
An ending you will not see coming and the final truth when revealed will surprise the reader. Six special women whose friendship endured the test of time, the test of marriages, divorces, lies, betrayals, fears, and one woman who would bind them together forever. A story that brings to light why Husbands May Come and Go but These Six women will be friends forever.
One great novel that will keep you glued, as it did this reviewer to the printed page from start to finish. Who knows what might be in store for Liz, Gidge, Arlene, Jo, Rosie and Julie if the author brings them back again as one starts a new life and the others embrace it even more.
This review is:
Dedicated to the true meaning of friendship and to the SIX GIRLS