Very early into the book, it was clear that in real life, Bertsche would never be my friend. Much less my own BFF.

She shares with Gretchen Rubin a bubbly enthusiasm and a type-A personality, which I appreciate, but she’s not part of my world at all. She quotes way too much TV series for my comfort level and she is so All-American that as a foreigner I had trouble relating to her  (maybe I’m discriminating, but the sorority allusion made me roll my eyes). Besides, the amount of free time she has (spent on mani-pedi and yoga) clearly made me jealous. And feel quite old. It’s probably a good thing we’ll never meet.

But on paper it was quite pleasant for a while, because Bertsche’s voice is so cheerful and easy-going.

I got the book on Bookmooch one of these days after contemplating my address book full of old friends I don’t have time to call and devoid of any new acquaintances. Friendship in your 30s is a tricky thing, and being a full-time working mother doesn’t help (I was told new friends would come naturally around the playground after school, but that’s our child-minder who gets to go to the playground and have friends, not me). I liked the project of the book better than the actual book itself. I’m all for trying new things and pushing myself to get results, so I can only cheer to her experience of meeting 1 friend a week for one entire year.

But when you translate that into a book (it was first a blog but I didn’t know), it eventually gets exhausting to keep track of everyone. And I felt that the systematic, sometimes forced (read: hectic) search itself precluded any deep relationship. So the end was a bit of a let-down.

That said, reading the book was a good experience itself, forcing me to reevaluate old friendships that have probably waned for good reasons and making me realize how many options we all have close hand to meet new people. Thanks to her, I have finally invited my friendly neighbors! (something Parisians are known to avoid at all cost).

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