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Keep This Book Close

*This is a book review of Big Friendship: How We Keep Each Other Close by Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman


“Once you’ve seen yourself in a mirror of friendship–in both positive and challenging ways–the reflection cannot be unseen.”

– Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman

Quick Facts

Authors: Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman
Release Date: July 14, 2020
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-help
Number of Pages: 256
SJ Rating: 90%


The Synopsis

As you get older, maintaining and making new friends can be quite difficult, especially if you’re in search of a friend you feel soul-connected to. This is called a Big Friendship, and by sharing their own story, Aminatou Sow and Ann Friedman provide tons of information on the ins and outs, highs and lows, of a Big Friendship.


The Good

Aminatou & Ann’s journey started with the friendship version of a blind date, and their journey is documented in this combination of an autobiography and self-help book.

I absolutely love the combination of anecdotes and research this book contains. There is tons of phenomenal content in the pages of this book.

An entire chapter is dedicated to Shine Theory, which is raising people up in various situations; I think it is necessary during this time of disgusting selfishness and hungry greed.

There’s a chapter dedicated to interracial friendship, and of course I thought it was the best chapter in the book. They (but I think it was more Aminatou) wrote, “When it comes to interracial friendships that involve a white person, it’s likely that the nonwhite friend is going to feel more negatively stretched, while the white friend gets to have a ‘learning experience.'”

Then there was the chapter on friendship breakups, which I found to be painfully relatable during my August 2022 life. In their book, Aminatou & Ann quote linguist Deborah Tannen: “‘Even if a cutoff can be traced to a single moment–a cruel thing said or outrageous thing done–that supremely tellable violation usually is the climax to frustrations and disappointments that had been building over time.'” Aminatou & Ann also made the beautiful point that “One person can’t unilaterally decide to fix a friendship. Repair is a choice that two people have to make.”

This is just the beginning of the wisdom you can find in this wonderful nonfiction work.

The Bad

The consistent shift between first and third person points-of-view kind of made it hard to keep up with who is actually telling the story. It was explained in the prologue of the book but still got a little confusing.

The Overall

Beyond describing what exactly a Big Friendship is, this book beautifully shares the ins and outs of friendship and backs every topic with research and studies.

It still blows my mind that there is actual research done about friendships–something that’s more complicated than the elementary level of ease we think it is.

Anyway, this book is an incredible, necessary read; I wish I had read it when I made friendship a focus in 2021, but I can’t go back in time.


Next book to be read and reviewed: Instructions for Dancing by Nicola Yoon


“… people have been failing to credit Black women for their genius ideas since the dawn of time…”

– Aminatou Sow & Ann Friedman

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