There’s a saying that goes, “A friend helps you move, a best friend helps you move a body.” That is the kind of friendship that Jennifer Weiner writes about in Best Friends Forever. Despite the distance of years, best friends Addie and Valerie are reunited under suspicious circumstances and are willing to revisit their friendship and save each other.
Addie Downs is a fat little girl with a strong inclination to stay at home with her family. She’s not much interested in doing the things that other little girls like to do, and she thinks her family is the best. She’s an outcast at school, but she doesn’t mind, or even really seem to notice. When Valerie Addler moves in next door, Addie’s mother forces her to make friends with the new girl. Val is everything that Addie is not--namely, social. They become best friends, inseparable. Val’s mother is a little flaky, but she is adventurous and exciting in ways that Addie’s mother could never be. While Addie is envious of Val’s eccentric, boozy mom, Val is hateful jealous of Addie’s four person family, with a dad who comes home every day, a mom who loves with her whole heart, and a brother who seems just about perfect in every way. However, things change over time, as they are apt to do, and Valerie grows out of her awkwardness and blossoms into a beautiful blond bombshell, joining the cheerleading team, and partying with the popular high school kids. Addie misses her friend more than anything, but isn’t willing to endure the social pressures of her peers. As Addie becomes ridiculed by the very people Valerie now hangs out with, their friendship becomes strained. Then one night at a party, Valerie is raped by one of the school’s most popular jocks, and confiding in Addie, begs her not to tell. When Addie does expose the truth, Valerie denies it and the entire school turns again Fat Addie. The rest of her high school years are spent in misery.
Fast forward fifteen years, and Valerie has become a weather girl, still a blond bombshell. Addie has become an artist, and has lost all of her extra weight. She’s not exactly successful by societal standards, but she’s happy in her life. The night of the fifteen year high school reunion comes around and Addie chooses to go on a date rather than face the kids who hated her in high school. After the terrible date finally ends, Addie heads home and soon finds Val on her doorstep, claiming she has run over and possibly killed the boy who raped her in high school. Addie, ever desperate to have her best friend back, goes along with Val’s plan to find the body and cover up the mess. When no body shows up, the only logical thing to do is run.
Weiner is a very likable author. She creates characters who are very relatable and puts them in situations that are like a more Technicolor real life—aka, more exaggerated. I enjoyed the characters of Addie and Val, maybe because they remind me so much of me and my best friend in high school. Except that I was never that shy; I was far more social than Addie Downs was. However, it’s not hard to believe that best friends could be ripped apart by the social pressures of high school. It’s also not hard to believe that once you’ve been best friends with a person and shared with them the deepest secrets of yourself, you’re linked forever.
Despite having some fairly heavy elements, this book was a really fun read. It was playful and funny, and a trademark chick lit volume from Jennifer Weiner.
Overall Rating: $$
Overall Rating: $$