Friends Like Us by Lauren Fox

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With her critically acclaimed debut novel, Still Life with Husband, Lauren Fox established herself as a wise and achingly funny chronicler of domestic life and was hailed as “a delightful new voice in American fiction, a voice that instantly recalls the wry, knowing prose of Lorrie Moore” (Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times). Fox’s new novel glitters with these pleasures—fearless wordplay, humor, and nuance—and asks us the question at the heart of every friendship: What would you give up for a friend’s happiness?
For Willa Jacobs, seeing her best friend, Jane Weston, is like looking in a mirror on a really good day. Strangers assume they are sisters, a comparison Willa secretly enjoys. They share an apartment, clothing, and groceries, eking out rent with part-time jobs. Willa writes advertising copy, dreaming up inspirational messages for tea bags (“The path to enlightenment is steep” and “Oolong! Farewell!”), while Jane cleans houses and writes poetry about it, rhyming “dust” with “lust,” and “clog of hair” with “fog of despair.” Together Willa and Jane are a fortress of private jokes and shared opinions, with a friendship so close there’s hardly room for anyone else. But when Ben, Willa’s oldest friend, reappears and falls in love with Jane, Willa wonders: Can she let her two best friends find happiness with each other if it means leaving her behind?

About Lauren Fox

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Lauren Fox is the author of Still Life with Husband. She earned her MFA from the University of Minnesota in 1998, and her work has appeared in The New York Times, Marie Claire, Seventeen, Glamour, and Salon. She lives in Milwaukee with her husband and two daughters.
Published February 14, 2012 by Vintage. 289 pages
Genres: Romance, Literature & Fiction, Humor & Entertainment. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Friends Like Us

Kirkus Reviews

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Willa and Ben were inseparable in high school, and after a seven-year separation meet again at a reunion, where Ben confesses to a longtime crush on her.

Feb 17 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Publishers Weekly

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And while the pacing of this audio edition drags a bit at times—particularly during scenes in which Willa inwardly frets about the emerging love triangle—Rubinate ably conveys the book’s lovable protagonist and its themes of friendship, love, and confusion.

Apr 30 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Publishers Weekly

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As Ben and Jane’s relationship becomes more serious, the attraction between Ben and Willa grows, and all three must cope with the consequences.

Oct 31 2011 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Star Tribune

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Lauren Fox turns a 20-something love triangle into a witty novel about romance and friendship.

Mar 03 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us


Willa tries to be happy for her two friends -- until she realizes that she herself loves Ben, who had loved her unconditionally when they were young.

Apr 07 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Book Reporter

In a prologue that sets up a mystery about a friendship so intriguing, readers absolutely must keep turning the pages to find out what on earth happened, Willa Jacobs is actually remembering a hilarious shared moment with her long-ago friend and roommate, Jane, when she suddenly spots Jane hersel...

Feb 16 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Entertainment Weekly

But just as the BFFs reach the part of their 20s when it becomes less and less acceptable to dawdle at part-time jobs, eat bagels for dinner, and live with your best friend, Willa's dear high school buddy Ben reenters her life and promptly falls hard for Jane, leaving Willa in the role of alterna...

Mar 01 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

San Francisco Chronicle

But their tidy friendship is interrupted by the return of Willa's best friend from high school, Ben, who, after confessing his adolescent crush on Willa, pursues a relationship with Jane.

Mar 04 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

City Book Review

They each have many excuses for behaving thoughtlessly: warring parents, indifferent parents, clueless parents – parents, really – but this does not excuse the amount of pain they inflict on one another.

Aug 10 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Portland Book Review

Willa and Jane are roommates and best friends.

Aug 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Bookmarks Magazine

Willa’s only broken relationship is with her high-school best friend, Ben, so when she runs into him at a reunion, she is delighted to welcome him back into her life, and thrilled to connect her friendships with Jane and Ben into a circle. I cringed and laughed sympathetically watching Wil...

Feb 15 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

Digital Journal

Before we can find out what made Jane hate her once best friend and roommate, we go back six years to when Jane and Willa were best friends.

Feb 20 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us


Seeing a threesome the next lane over, two girls and a guy, Willa seems to be winding up for a moment of condescension but is moved to reflect, "We all think we're snowflakes, but we're Tinker Toys, held together by our interchangeable parts."

Feb 19 2012 | Read Full Review of Friends Like Us

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