One of the fascinating things about the book is the portrayal of your friendship. Our cultural reference points for female friendship seem to be either the Sex and the City ideal or the folksy Ya-Ya Sisterhood. Or, we’re talking about “frenemies” and the “toxic friendship” aspects of how women can relate. But yours is such a loving portrait of your day to day; I found it hard to believe that a friendship that close wasn’t competitive or codependent at times.
But it was! We did have that; the difference is that we dealt with it. Caroline and I had both suffered those terrible breaks that women have, that empathic failure–the, Well, never mind then, goodbye, and you start to drop away from each other. We were so attached, and both of us were so loyal, and our MO in the world was to go toward a problem as opposed to away from it. I really wanted to write about the struggles that we had, I could hear Caroline saying to me, “You can’t make this all happy.” We were incredibly competitive and all we did was sublimate it. We arm-wrestled and she beat me; I’d try to beat her in the pool. I knew I had to talk about the struggles and how piercing they can be.
One of the most heartfelt aspects of the book is the way you write about your love for her–it feels very clear and pure and unapologetic. And you’re not writing about your parents or child or partner; you’re writing about your best friend. We often give lip service to the importance of female friendship but we don’t talk about the possible depths of that kind of love.
That was paramount for me, and I’ve been really appreciative of the reviews that have gotten that. In a reading the other night, someone asked me if I ever had that horrible disappointment where people would go, “But it was just a friend.” It’s jaw-dropping when someone does that, because if your friendships are primary, as this one was–grief is not a stair-step of who gets the most attention.
– See more at: http://www.smithmag.net/memoirville/2010/08/31/interview-gail-caldwell-author-of-lets-take-the-long-way-home-a-memoir-of-friendship/#sthash.ajl8I2iM.dpuf