Themed Reads: Galentines

Leslie Knope, the OG galentine. Credit to The Atlantic.

Romance, love, etc., etc., etc. I’m all for it, of course. My little valentines got books and chocolate this year (what’s better?) and Steve and I had a fabulous adventure, about which more soon. But Valentine’s Day isn’t what it was in my teens and twenties – a day of extreme relationship significance. It’s a day to celebrate love being in the world, which is great, but you know what else is great for that? Galentines Day, a holiday to celebrate female friendship, invented by the great Leslie Knope. And in the spirit of Galentines, here are three reads focusing on that very thing.

First of all, no Galentines reading roundup would be complete without Lumberjanes, the delightful comic created by ND Stevenson and Shannon Watters. For Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s sake, their camp motto is FRIENDSHIP TO THE MAX. And it really is to the max, as these five girls face down everything from anagrams to dinosaurs to possessed boy campers – together. Galentines to the max!

All right, this wasn’t my favorite book (it was all right, but didn’t wow me) but on the theme of female friendship Tracy Chevalier has a lot to say in A Single Thread. Violet is a “surplus woman” left bereft by the death of her fiance in World War I and living with her domineering mother. She escapes – unable to face another year in her mother’s house – and falls in with a company of Cathedral “broderers” (women who embroider kneelers and cushions for the local Cathedral). With their support, Violet builds a rich life for herself.

All right, Verily Anderson‘s World War II home front memoir isn’t just about female friendship, but my favorite parts of Spam Tomorrow were the parts that focused on her friendship with her dear friend Julie. Verily and Julie bond over motherhood and put their heads together to start an inn to make money while their husbands are off at war, and it’s one of the most hilarious things I ever read. (They’re wonderful mothers and devoted friends, but terrible hoteliers.) I can relate to the experience of teaming up with a bestie to get through life’s difficult moments together (hi, Rebecca!) and Anderson relates this precious friendship resource in a funny and life-affirming way.

What are your favorite books about female friendship?

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