Friendaholic - Elizabeth Day

Reading Challenge Category: Book club June read

Official Blurb:

As a society, there is a tendency to elevate romantic love. But what about friendships? Aren't they just as – if not more – important? So why is it hard to find the right words to express what these uniquely complex bonds mean to us? In Friendaholic: Confessions of a Friendship Addict, Elizabeth Day embarks on a journey to answer these questions.
Growing up, Elizabeth wanted to make everyone like her. Lacking friends at school, she grew up to believe that quantity equalled quality. Having lots of friends meant you were loved, popular and safe. She was determined to become a Good Friend. And, in many ways, she did. But in adulthood she slowly realised that it was often to the detriment of her own boundaries and mental health.
Then, when a global pandemic hit in 2020, she was one of many who were forced to reassess what friendship really meant to them – with the crisis came a dawning realisation: her truest friends were not always the ones she had been spending most time with. Why was this? Could she rebalance it? Was there such thing as…too many friends? And was she really the friend she thought she was?
Friendaholic unpacks the significance and evolution of friendship. From exploring her own personal friendships and the distinct importance of each of them in her life, to the unique and powerful insights of others across the globe, Elizabeth asks why there isn’t yet a language that can express its crucial influence on our world.
From ghosting and frenemies to social media and seismic life events, Elizabeth leaves no stone unturned. Friendaholic is the book you buy for the people you love but it's also the book you read to become a better friend to yourself.

My Thoughts:

Friendaholic by Elizabeth Day promised to offer an expert's take on the complex dynamics of friendship, which piqued my interest from the start. However, I found myself somewhat disappointed by the book's overly academic approach, giving it a textbook-like feel. The most captivating moments came when the author shared her own personal experiences rather than relying heavily on references to 16th-century literature to support her arguments. Unfortunately, these instances were few and far between, making the book feel long-winded and not as accessible as I had anticipated.
That being said, Friendaholic did provide me with food for thought and prompted me to reflect on all the friendships I've cultivated throughout my life. It even inspired me to consider documenting them, as I believe it could serve as a cathartic exercise to process the emotions surrounding certain friendship "break-ups."
One chapter that particularly disappointed me was the one focused on childlessness. As someone who has chosen not to have children, I had expected a comprehensive exploration of this topic from various angles, including its impact on friendships. However, instead of delving into the dynamics of friendships in the face of fertility struggles, the chapter mainly revolved around the author's personal experience. While I empathise with her journey, I found this detailed account unnecessary for the overall theme of the book, and I struggled to relate to it.
In summary, Friendaholic had its moments of intrigue, but overall, it felt more like a chore to read than an enjoyable experience. The book's academic approach and lack of personal anecdotes made it feel overly long-winded. While it did provide me with some valuable insights, I walked away from it feeling relieved to have finished it rather than genuinely satisfied.

by Elizabeth Day
Date Started
20th June 2023
Date Finished
24th June 2023