In Girl Talk, New York Times science reporter Jacqueline Mroz takes on the science of female friendship–a phenomenon that’s as culturally powerful as it is individually mysterious. She examines friendship from a range of angles, from the historical to the experiential, with a scientific analysis that reveals new truths about what leads us to connect and build alliances, and then “break up” when a friendship no longer serves us. Mroz takes a new look at how friendship has evolved throughout history, showing how friends tend to share more genetic commonalities than strangers, and that the more friends we have, the more empathy and pleasure chemicals are present in our brains. Scientists have also reported that friendship directly influences health and longevity; women with solid, supportive friendships experience fewer “fight or flight” impulses and stronger heart function, and women without friendships tend to develop medical challenges on par with those associated with smoking and excessive body weight. With intimate reporting and insightful analysis, Mroz reveals new awareness about the impact of women’s friendships, and how they shape our culture at large.
The science behind female friendship is something I didn’t realize I was so interested in until I read this book. I thought it’d be a perfect book for Nonfiction November and I was right—it was fascinating.
I learned so much from this book. It covered more than I was expecting, including the history of female friendships, secret friendships between notable women, the ways the female brain is different from male brains when it comes to friendships, how social media effects modern friendships and so much more. The book even went into the social interactions of animals, drawing connections to why humans evolved to wanting and needing friends and what we look for in friends. I would have never expected a nonfiction book about friendship to be so gripping but I could barely put it down. Nearly every page had a piece of information that made me want to share it with whoever was in the room with me. Just about every aspect of female friendship is dissected from several angles—historical, cultural, biological, etc. It was all laid out clearly and concisely for readers to understand. If there were two sides to a debate or two opposing ideas, Mroz included the different stances, giving readers a good understanding of where different researchers currently stand on some matters. It also looks at why some friendships end, how they ended and how it effected the people involved. The importance of female friendships is made obvious and we see examples of the positive impacts of these friendships supported by science—which was incredibly interesting and eye opening.
The facts and studies presented in this book were balanced with stories and examples from women interviewed specifically for the book as well as from Mroz’s own experiences. It added a personal touch to what readers learn and can help them see examples of certain aspects of female friendships in real life that they can probably relate to. It’s easy for books loaded with so many facts, quotes, and studies to become a little lifeless and droning but this book remained engaging the whole time. The writing was very well done.
Believe me, this book is great. I’ve learned so much about what makes female friendships unique and necessary, how it effects women, why we choose the friends we do and more. There’s so much in this book that I didn’t know I wanted to know. I highly, highly recommend this book. It’s so interesting and well written. The information is laid out clearly and personally. I think many women will enjoy learning about parts of their friendships they never thought to question or took any real interest in and will come away with a wealth of knowledge about so many aspects of female friendship throughout history. I have a million little examples of the incredible facts I learned from this book that I’d like to list, but you should read them for yourself.
Thanks for reading,
Disclaimer: I was sent this book by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.