12 December 2014

Best Friends

It occurred to me this morning that of all the books I've read this year, while most have had some element of romance and all have featured friends, very few have featured the kind of deep, abiding friendship that defines being Best Friends.

There is one author, however, who seems to include this relationship in all his books. Granted I've not read ALL his books (YET!) but of the three I read (devoured) this year, all three of them had amazing friendships.

This year I read Andrew Smith's WINGER, GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, and 100 SIDEWAYS MILES, and all three had amazing Best Friends in them. The kind of Best Friends that reflect how I feel about my own Best Friend.

In WINGER, Joey is Ryan Dean's best friend. Ryan Dean starts off the book by telling us that Joey was the only one who tried to keep him on the right track. He spends the book telling Ryan Dean to get his shit together - but he always has Ryan Dean's back, and Ryan Dean has his back, too. They have the sort of debauched teenage adventures that my own friends and I might have had, if we'd had access to alcohol at that age (and inclination to consume). Ryan Dean's not afraid to say that he loves Joey. I understand that completely.

In GRASSHOPPER JUNGLE, Robby Brees is Austin's best friend. And despite the romantic entanglements that ensue due to Austin's conflicting attractions and perpetual horniness, Austin still takes the time to tell us that Robby Brees is a bad-ass superhero. That's the kind of admiration I feel for my Best Friend. Like they can climb mountains. Do kung-fu. Kill giant praying mantises while wearing smelly lemur masks. Robby is also the only one to call Austin out when he's being selfish - and Austin cares about Robby's opinion enough to admit he's right, and to try to be better.

And then there's 100 SIDEWAYS MILES. The marketing for the book made mention of the "possibly insane but definitely excellent Cade Hernandez." And if Austin admired Robby, Finn admired Cade even more. Finn calls Cade a god. He's amazed at how the world seems to fall into place around whatever Cade wants. But Cade isn't particularly selfish, and he's a true friend to Finn, even if he sometimes gets a little out of hand. He's the kind of loud, boisterous Best Friend that pushes you out of your comfort zone and then follows you out the other side. The scene where Cade takes Finns hopping for condoms is absolutely amazing.

I don't know why it is that Andrew Smith writes such amazing Best Friends. I must assume he's had that kind of relationship in his life - either that or has craved it. Regardless, the Best Friends in his books have touched my life. If I didn't have such excellent Best Friends myself, I might want some of his.