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Best Friends Forever: Surviving a Breakup with Your Best Friend Paperback – 3 Sep 2009
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"For anyone who has ever had a friend, but especially for those who've ended close relationships, Irene Levine has written a beautiful guide to recovery and healing. It's a book filled with honest reflections and heartfelt advice." -Jeffrey Zaslow, "New York Times" bestselling author of "The Girls from Ames" and co-author of "The Last Lecture"
"Finally, a book that helps you get through the "other" type of breakup." -Andrea Lavinthal and Jessica Rozler, authors of "Friend or Frenemy?"
"The end of a friendship is painful and sad, regardless of the circumstances. Dr. Irene Levine explores this difficult subject with insight and heart, plus a look at the latest research. Her guidance is especially interesting and helpful regarding Facebook and other new developments that are changing the meaning of friendship in today's world." -Florence Isaacs, author of "Toxic Friends/True Friends" and "What Do You Say When..."
"Dr. Irene Levine's "Best Friends Forever: Surviving
"This book explores ways women can deal with painful break-up with someone they had hoped would be their "Best Friend Forever." Written by psychologist Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., it is the first self-help guide to consider the complexity and challenges of female friendships, including Why friendships fall apart; How to get over getting dumped; Spotting a Toxic Friendship; How to end a friendship that can't be fixed; Moving forward with new friends."--Funtravels.com
About the Author
Irene S. Levine, Ph.D., is a journalist, practicing psychologist, and professor at New York University Medical School. She writes frequently for such publications as The New York Times, Health, Ladies' Home Journal, Reader's Digest, Self, The Huffington Post, and Better Homes and Gardens.
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Top customer reviews
When I first came across this book, I was looking for a book about close female friendships which suddenly end with no explanation, and while there are about 3 or 4 main books on the subject out there (on amazon US anyway), most of them don't get great reviews. Review-wise, this book appeared to be the best of a mediocre bunch.
Indeed, reading through the reader reviews on amazon (the US amazon, since there aren't many reviews of those particular books on the UK amazon) actually provides one with pretty much the gist of the works themselves.
The value in such books, I think, is not so much in the lists of possible explanations for what happened to the friendship, which one has surely already thought through on her own, but in reading the stories of other people who have gone through the same thing, in receiving the compassion of the author about how painful and traumatic this kind of experience can be, in re-living various memories as brought up by the book (but this time with the "comfort" in knowing that the book is on one's side, so to speak), and in absorbing the message of the book that most girls grow up (greatly encouraged by popular culture) to expect that good friendships will last forever, yet this is often untrue and unrealistic.
Levine is reasonably compassionate, explains many of the reasons that - and scenarios in which - female friendships end, and gives encouragement and advice about making new friends in the future. I'm glad that I read it for these benefits.
However, in my opinion, the book is 50% too long, is repetitive, has too many very short tales about "real-life" friendships, and suffers from some poor editing in places.
This book is also mainly about typical North American female friendships (and possibly skewed towards white, middle-class ones, at that). I have lived in a couple of other countries; in my experience, expectations of and rhythms of female friendships can be quite different in different cultures. They even vary from region to region in the US. But the book does not mention this much at all -- the book approaches the subject as if the views expressed are universal. In some ways of course the friendship scenarios described in the book are universal (one friend having a baby, another not; one friend going to university, another not; one friend having an affair with the other friend's husband, etc.) but in the details and expectations, there are cultural differences that are not touched on.
For example, although one would think that our two cultures are reasonably similar, I have been really surprised in my own life to learn JUST how *differently* Brits and Americans view female friendships - their development, their length, the expectations of them, etc.
Indeed, we have different sets of assumptions about female/female friendships, about male/female friendships, AND about romantic relationships, and I expect also about male/male friendships.
Therefore, I am not amazed that there aren't any reader reviews on the amazon UK site for this book -- except for the author's own 5-star review!
While this book would be of value to a UK reader who is trying to understand the loss of an important friendship, it presupposes that it is relatively easy to develop brand-new good friendships after the age of 25 (which it is in the US - on the whole, but sadly it is not at all easy in the UK), and it presupposes a kind of atomistic view of one-to-one friendships that are easily disgarded when one's life circumstances change (which many American friendships are like, whereas in the UK, female friendships seem often to be more about a group of friends that formed when they were younger than 25 and that remains quite central to their lives over a longer time period and across different life circumstances).
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
This book just didn't deliver, however. It goes on and on about ways you can lose a friend, types of friendships, etc. The section on how to tell if you are the toxic friend can certainly be useful, but that's about it. There is nothing in here about how to actually get over it. Of course there is no magic cure-all, but a self help type book usually has helpful suggestions, activities, etc. This book did not. It literally gives next to no advice on how to "survive a breakup". It's all about really obvious misc. friendship subjects, and rather drags on.
This book helped me cope, and opened my heart up so I could see that I deserve so much more than she could ever give me. But that doesn't mean that I dont miss her like crazy. Her friendship was enough, but mine wasn't. And sometimes you just gotta deal with that, eat a shit ton of chocolate to get over the initial break up, and then start from scratch to rebuild your heart.
Mereht, I love you forever. You changed my life, you changed me. I owe so much to you...but you also broke me down, you broke my heart, you hurt me with your actions and words. I know that we weren't right for each other afterall, but the memories we shared meant the world to me. Thank you.
I began to feel better after reading the first few pages. Finally, someone understood what had been on my heart for such a long time. It was helpful to know that my situation was not totally unique; that I was not obsessed by a friendship of the past; and that others had been through the same experience and had some helpful advice. I still miss the close friendship I once had, but I am trying to let the past go and to let my former friend go in peace and to find my own peace.
I loaned this book to another friend, and she said, "This book touched me like no other book ever has." We have both been helped by Dr. Levine's efforts. Thanks to her and to all the women who shared stories of their own loss, pain, and recovery.