Yet again those blogging luminaries over at The Broke and the Bookish have challenged us to create top ten list. Here are the best, in my opinion, stories of friendship.
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky is not only a classic coming of age tale about the support of wonderful friends, at ball games, parties, and Rocky Horror re-enactments, but also, this epistolary novel is addressed ‘Dear friend’, drawing the reader into Charlie’s inner circle.
“We didn’t talk about anything heavy or light. We were just there together. And that was enough”
2. Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian places young, ill-treated evacuee Willie in the care of the gruff widower, Mister Tom. Their unlikely friendship grows as Tom helps Willie to become happier and healthier. ‘Mister Tom’ eventually becomes ‘Dad’ instead.
“It occurred to him that strength was quite different from toughness and that being vulnerable wasn’t quite the same as being weak.”
3. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. I can’t even talk about it. Too sad.
“A guy needs somebody―to be near him. A guy goes nuts if he ain’t got nobody. Don’t make no difference who the guy is, long’s he’s with you.”
4. The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery explores how friendship can alter lives. Renée, a closet intellectual, Paloma, a twelve-year-old outsider, and Kakuro Ozu, their new neighbour, are profoundly changed through their friendship, finding new meaning in life. Read my review of it here.
“Do you know that it is in your company that I have had my finest thoughts?”
5. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White is about the heartwarming friendship between a piglet and a spider. It couldn’t be lovelier.
“‘Why did you do all this for me?’ he asked. ‘I don’t deserve it. I’ve never done anything for you.’
‘You have been my friend,’ replied Charlotte. ‘That in itself is a tremendous thing.’”
6. One Day by David Nicholls is a day each year in the friendship of Emma and Dexter, and properly reflects what many relationships are like: sometimes you lose touch, grow apart, are furious or delighted with each other. Sometimes, friendship becomes romantic love.
“’Can I say something?’
‘I’m a little drunk’
‘Me too. That’s okay.’
‘Just….I missed you, you know.’
‘I missed you too.’“
7. The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick brings together Pat and Tiffany, just when they need each other.
“She looks sad. She looks angry. She looks different from everyone else I know—she cannot put on that happy face others wear when they know they are being watched. She doesn’t put on a face for me, which makes me trust her somehow.”
8. The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants by Ann Brashares shows how a pair of trousers can truly unite people.
“You know what the secret is? It’s so simple. We love one another. We’re nice to one another.”
9. The Color Purple by Alice Walker pivots on the relative liberation Celie gets from meeting Shug Avery. It’s complex and excellent.
“Sometimes I feel mad at her. Feel like I could scratch her hair right off her head. But then I think, Shug got a right to live too. She got a right to look over the world in whatever company she choose. Just cause I love her don’t take away none of her rights.”
10. Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro is a gorgeous, heartbreaking story of friendships lost and regained.
“I keep thinking about this river somewhere, with the water moving really fast. And these two people in the water, trying to hold onto each other, holding on as hard as they can, but in the end it’s just too much. The current’s too strong. They’ve got to let go, drift apart. That’s how it is with us. It’s a shame, Kath, because we’ve loved each other all our lives. But in the end, we can’t stay together forever.”
What’s on your list?