“Friendship Matters” by Rona D Drinkard is the recipient of the BREW Readers Choice Award 2021/2022 – Women’s Fiction and, earlier, the BREW Readers’ Choice Award – February 2022.
Saisha is a sassy real estate agent with a gift for cooking, but who’s still carrying a torch for an old love. Euniqé is a psychotherapist and a mom who’s struggling to allow herself to find happiness after the death of her husband. Kandace dreamed of being an interior designer, but she’s more of a shopaholic who is struggling between an unhappy marriage and the luxuries that it conveys. Despite their abysmal differences, these three women profess a fierce loyalty to each other, and they’re bonded by an unbreakable friendship that has lasted over 20 years. Together, they will navigate the ups and downs of finding your place in the world when you find yourself in your mid-thirties, but things didn’t exactly go as planned. They will share grief, laughter, music, gossip, and a characteristic banter that makes this not only a meaningful but also a fun read.
The dialogues are the star asset of this novel. Each character has a unique voice, their conversations are authentic, and their insights are so sincere they can even be raw. The alternating voices give us a rounded vision of the plot, but they’re so genuine that, at some point, I didn’t even have to read the title to know who was speaking.
I also love how real the depiction of the female experience is, which includes not only the endearing moments or the glorious ones, but some silly details that make the story even more realistic. For example, how Euniqé doesn’t hesitate to admit that she doesn’t want to see her “little boy”, Tyree, dating. That’s probably a common experience for all moms.
The characters, even the secondary ones, are perfectly portrayed. The author states their motives and backstories, but what brings them to life are the little idiosyncrasies that made me feel like Saisha, Euniqé, and Kandace were my friends, too. For example, the way Kandace sings or how Euniqé always waits four rings before answering the phone. The way the characters grow along with the plot is brilliant, and it even made me feel proud of them. The diversity of the characters makes it easy for a variety of readers to relate to them. I, for once, could relate more to Euniqé and Kandace, since I left the dating scene a long time ago. That doesn’t mean I didn’t love Saisha’s witty and upbeat attitude.
Some younger readers might find the protagonists’ attitudes towards sex and dating, awkward, old-fashioned, or even anti-feminist. I want to make the case that this is a feminist book that remains congruent with the values not only of the time but of each of the characters. For starters, our three protagonists show women can be loyal friends, and their “competition” always remains at a harmless level. Second, they have admirable self-confidence. Finally, they also stand up for other women. For example, when one of them badmouths a rival, the other one answers: “That is not right talking about that woman like that. She hasn’t done anything to you. She got her man the same way we all did. One sway at a time!” (p.200)
“Friendship Matters” by Rona D. Drinkard is not only women’s fiction but an honest description of the female experience of African-American women. The voice of these women is still sorely underrepresented in literature, and with her book, Rona D. Drinkard makes a great service to all of us. Because of its social importance, uplifting plot, memorable characters, and outstanding dialogues, I rate “Friendship Matters” by Rona D. Drinkard 5 out of 5 stars.
The book is ideal for readers of feminine fiction, romance, and anyone who wants to renew their faith in friendship and happiness over adversity. Although the book is set in an indefinite time period, the use of CDs and the lack of overwhelming technology makes me think it takes place in the 90s, which makes it an ideal read for those of us who feel nostalgic for a time when you could plan a wedding without a Pinterest board. The author broaches several sensitive topics that make this a suitable read for a mature audience.
AF, 6 April 2022
- Title: Friendship Matters
- Author: Rona D Drinkard
- Genre: Fiction
- Theme: Women’s
- Publication date: 5 February 2022
- ISBN or ASIN: B09PTCCS4S
- Number of words: 100,308
- Minimum audience age: 15
Themes (Note: 0=none, 1=a few, 2=considerable, 3=pronounced, 4=excessive)
- Sexual: 3
- Religious: 2
- Violence, self-harm, etc.: 1
- Crude language, expletives, swearing, etc.: 2
- Other adult tones: 0
- Content: 5 stars
- Writing Style: 5 stars
- Appeal to Target Audience: 5 stars
- Uniqueness: 5 stars
- Editing: 4 stars
- Other factors: 5 stars
- Overall: 5 out of 5 stars
Know more about the book via https://thechrysalisbrewproject.com/2022/01/11/featured-book-friendship-matters-by-rona-d-drinkard/.
View “Friendship Matters” on Amazon.com.
View “Friendship Matters on Amazon.com.au.
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