Nobody’s Cuter Than You: A Memoir About the Beauty of Friendship was released in April 2015, weeks after Mary & I had submitted our completed manuscript for the September-released Mary & Me: A Lasting Link Through Ink.
Had we been aware of this book, we would have added it to our resource chapter. Had we read it, I would have wondered if my friend Mary had unconsciously picked up a phrase from it.
On page 16 of our book, Mary Jedlicka Humston looked back on our first meeting:
On page 3 of Shankle’s book, she said much the same about her first meeting with her friend Gulley.
I read Shankle’s wonderful book in one sitting, marveling at how much like the other Mary she was; forming female friendships with such ease. She was Mary JH, but with more money! Yes, I found myself wondering as I read her book what my life would have been like in elementary school if I’d had the wardrobe Shankle had. Is it easier to make friends with the right clothes, the hip hairstyle, and keys to a car handed to you on your 16th birthday? It made me think of our Book Club discussion questions at the back of our book.
Certainly having parents pay for college and access to Dad’s credit card made Shankle’s college days more fun than the years at UNI for either of the Marys, who had to pay their own way. I was a married woman my second year of college, had my first baby and worked part-time around my husband’s college classes and part-time job. There were no nights of partying, no groups of female friends. By the time I graduated college, I was the mother of four children, with four more to follow. When would I have had time for weekend road trips in which to bond with fellow females? I found myself getting a little, um…jealous, and if you’ve read our book, you know that is a very uncomfortable feeling for me. I was even envious of Shankle’s fourth grade summer camp and the resulting turning point in her faith in Christ. I had to wait until age 51, and the loss of my mother for my own turning point in faith.
Surprisingly, Shankle tackles the topic of jealousy in her book, too. Maybe one can’t discuss female friendship without broaching the subject. Perhaps everyone deals with envy at some point in their life.
The similarities between our books doesn’t end there. The author obviously shares a love of epigraphs with me. (the quotes of others at the beginning of each chapter). She also touches on loss, and the importance of being there for a friend. Readers of Mary & Me know intimately of how my friendship with Mary deepened after I faced the loss of my husband.
After reading Melanie Shankle’s memoir, I want to read her other books. I’m now a follower of her Big Mama blog. I want Melanie and her Gulley to sit down at a table with Mary and me to share a cup of tea (or coffee~ it is not clear which beverage this author prefers) and talk into the night about friendship, faith, jealousy, and what it means to be a Christian woman.
Readers will have a chance to win a copy of this book in the giveaway that I will be posting on our blog tomorrow. Not only will we be giving away several books, a journal, and stationery, but a Barnes & Noble gift card is involved~ The giveaway drawing will be held next Sunday, September 18, which just happens to be National Women’s Friendship Day.