Emily K's Staff Pick (January 2013): Each vignette is a portrait of a friendship that has influenced Sonnenberg in a small or significant way. She Matters is not a celebration of friendship (many of the relationships divulged have sour endings), but a testament to the power of deep emotional bonds between women, be they flash-in-the-pan girlhood friendships, the mentor-mentee relationship, the motherhood support group, etc. So relatable, this book is haunting. Sonnenberg is profoundly ruminative, and her writing is so beautiful and thoughtful, she is able to perfectly capture the intricacies of female friendships.
The New York Times called Susanna Sonnenberg “immensely gifted,” and Vogue, “scrupulously unsentimental.” Entertainment Weekly described Sonnenberg’s Her Last Death as “a bracing memoir about growing up rich and glamorous with a savagely inappropriate mother.” Now, Sonnenberg, with her unflinching eye and uncanny wisdom, has written a compulsively readable book about female friendship.
T he best friend who broke up with you. The older girl at school you worshipped. The beloved college friend who changed. The friend you slept with. The friend who betrayed you. The friend you betrayed. Companions in travel, in discovery, in motherhood, in grief; the mentor, the model, the rescuer, the guide, the little sister. These have been the women in Susanna Sonnenberg’s life, friends tender, dominant, and crucial after her reckless mother gave her early lessons in womanhood.
Searing and superbly written, Sonnenberg’s She Matters: A Life in Friendships illuminates the friendships that have influenced, nourished, inspired, and haunted her—and sometimes torn her apart. Each has its own lessons that Sonnenberg seeks to understand. Her method is investigative and ruminative; her result, fearlessly observed portraits of friendships that will inspire all readers to consider the complexities of their own relationships. This electric book is testimony to the emotional significance of the intense bonds between women, whether shattered, shaky, or unbreakable.
About the Author
Susanna Sonnenberg is the author of Her Last Death. She lives in Montana with her family.
Praise for She Matters: A Life in Friendships…
“In her stunning second memoir, a collection of linked essays, Sonnenberg finds universal truths in her experiences of female friendship.”
“She Matters is both a remembrance of vital friendships as well as a deeply absorbing portrait of the author herself…There are beautiful moments documented here…but ultimately She Matters is a deeply affecting ode to the ones who got away.”
“She Matters lingers with you, inviting you to construct a patchwork quilt of your own life and salute the many women who helped you along the way.”
“Sonnenberg is a gifted literary stylist with a stunning ability to write sentences that read like beautiful traps…She Matters artfully reveals the depth and gravity of love between women as they make sense of the changing and often treacherous emotional and logistical terrain of their forward-moving lives.”
“I read She Matters with such a keen sense of recognition, seeing myself (and my own mistakes and victories) repeated in so many forms through the female friendships of her own that Sonnenberg examines so eloquently…Like all of us, I want to do better. I think (hope) this book can help.”
-Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed
“I was dazzled by this wise and intimate memoir about female friendship. Sonnenberg writes incredible sentences: precise, musical, surprising and insightful…Sonnenberg’s engrossing stories of the highs and lows of her various friendships with women, made me feel newly grateful for all the crucial and complex women in my own life…Everyone should read this book.”
-Karen Thompson Walker, author of The Age of Miracles
“Sonnenberg, who’s aware of her passions and ambivalences, and doesn’t hide from them, made me think about what a friendship is, anyway…She’s written something that interests, exhausts, moves, perplexes, impresses and yes, matters.”
“She Matters is a dark and intriguing piece of writing…rewarding…rich…[Sonnenberg’s] honesty has helped and will help me be more honest with myself within (and in regard to) friendships.”
“Susanna Sonnenberg’s book reminds us how profoundly we’re affected by our friendships….You’ll want to share this with, yes, a friend.”
“Sonnenberg is a beautiful writer…In this gallery of friendships, the portrait of each woman is so well drawn we grasp their significance and savor the intimacy.”