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Photo courtesy of Marion Ettlinger

One great thing about your friends is that (unlike a boyfriend or a spouse) each serves a fundamentally different purpose. You know what we mean: There’s the friend who doubles as your therapist, the friend who’s a bad influence, the friend you call for fashion advice, the friend who’s practically family.

Such is the subject of Susanna Sonnenberg’s new memoir, She Matters, which chronicles important female friendships from throughout the author’s life.

Sonnenberg, best known for a tell-all portrait of her manipulative mother, writes with profound clarity about the women she has known. From an awkward reconnection with a camp friend on Facebook to the on-again-off-again pal who will always be five minutes late, Sonnenberg’s stories are both beautifully lyrical (“Women are like this: fierce, supreme, capable”) and brutally honest.

Her recollection of accusing a longtime confidante of the unthinkable--being a bad mother--is painful yet remarkably brave. But coming to terms with the ugly is perhaps Sonnenberg’s point. Children, marriage and life itself change us, and not all friendships are meant to survive.

When reading She Matters, it’s almost impossible not to begin identifying and analyzing the women who made you who you are.

Who knows? You may even feel inspired to give that long-lost chum a call.

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