Oberlin College, Ohio, 1973 - When Clare Mann arrives at Oberlin, she is absolutely ecstatic to be on her own finally. She lives in a small Ohio town somewhere between Akron and Youngstown, but the novelty of being even an hour away from home thrills her. Clare first meets Sally Rose - a transplant from Los Angeles - at freshman orientation and they are basically thrown together as college roommates.
Clare, the daughter of a Protestant, working-class family from Ohio, has never met anyone like her new roommate, Sally. Wealthy and beautiful; and Jewish, Sally is barely emancipated from her close-knit Los Angeles family, and has led an otherwise sheltered life. She is utterly foreign to the hard-working, jaded Clare - and utterly fascinating.
Clare's fascination with Sally only intensifies, when she brings Clare home to Los Angeles to meet the Rose family. Sid Rose, Sally's father, is charismatic, charming; the owner of a profitable business which is shrouded in secrecy. He is almost as compelling a figure to Clare as he is to his own daughter. California seems like a veritable paradise after spending winters in Ohio; and soon Clare begins to look forward to these visits with an almost desperate enthusiasm; to the numerous carefree rides in Sally's Kharmann Ghia and the seemingly endless lazy days spent poolside.
Despite their many differences, the free-spirited Clare and a frequently homesick Sally soon overcome their mutual bafflement with each other to form an extraordinary friendship; a complicated, but tenacious bond that endures through the years. As the years pass, Clare becomes a doctor and Sally a lawyer; but they always remain roommates at heart, just a plane ride or a phone call away. Marriages and divorces, births and deaths do not separate them; but secrets just might - for as Clare watches, the Rose family begins to slowly disintegrate before her eyes. And the things she knows are the kinds of things that no one ever wants to tell a best friend.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book; the story was totally engrossing and I almost didn't want it to end. With the various plot twists, intrigue, secrets and intricate family dynamics, this story held my interest right until the end. As I've said before, I always enjoy reading stories about families, and most especially about the enduring friendships between women.
I give Best Friends by Martha Moody an A+! This is Ms. Moody's debut novel, and I'm delighted to say that I have her next book - The Office of Desire - somewhere on my bookshelf as well. In my opinion, she is quite an excellent writer.
I loved this book. It's not for everyone. The main characters are very complex and not always likeable...but very real. It's not a neat tidy story and so if you need a clean story with a wrapped up ending this may not be the book for you.
It took me a little while to read, but I enjoyed it. It's a great book about two friends and their friendship throughout the years.