Monday, October 13, 2014

Guest Book Review and Giveaway: My Other Ex

By Denise De Fabio Keliuotis

**Giveaway is now closed**

I’ve never been one to have many female friendships. After reading My Other Ex, I now understand why.

From the time I was a small girl, the bulk of my close friendships have been with males. I’ve often wondered why but usually wrote it off to the fact I grew up on a street with a dozen boys and one lone girl: me. Almost every single one of those friendships remains to this day, a time period spanning four decades. And now, it all makes sense. Friendships with males are easy. They’re straightforward. They take minimal emotional commitment and not a whole lot of cultivating. The men in my life are what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guys, and in turn, our relationships aren’t all that deep. They don’t take a whole lot of work.

But, as the editors of My Other Ex so honestly explain, female relationships are different, more complicated. “There is so much good, so much power, so much love, in female friendships,” they write. “But there is also a dark side of pain and loss.” That darkness, it seems, flows from the fact “women require such an overwhelming intensity in their relationships with each other.” For that reason, the authors surmise, the ending of a female friendship is immensely painful.

The stories contained within My Other Ex highlight that intensity, and the profound feelings of grief and loss that accompany the end of female friendships. Each essay centers around a death of sorts, the cessation of a relationship so vital, its ending has left the author mourning, often for years or even a lifetime.

This anthology grew out of The Herstories Project editors Jessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger’s desire to answer the question of why the dissolution of female friendships often leave “wounds deeper than the scars left from romantic relationships,” why female friendships differ so from those of men. Not surprisingly, the editors found no definitive answer. Instead, they were merely left to wonder as to the awesome power of a female friendship – both good and bad.

My Other Ex is divided into five sections, covering the different times of the women authors’ lives when friendships blossomed and then died – and sometimes resurrected. The essays span adolescent friendships and move into adult relationships, including a special section regarding the toll motherhood can take on female friendships. Finally, the book ends with “Reflections” on female relationship breakups and the scars left behind.

Although I don’t have many close female friendships, I greatly value the ones I’ve managed to grow, and I struggle to imagine losing any of my great girlfriends. For that reason, I connected closely with the stories in My Other Ex. The essays are well written and, just as importantly, brutally honest. I truly felt the authors’ pain emanating through their words; the emotional intensity shone through on every page. Some stories left me feeling angry ("Delilah;" "The Girl With the Pink Bow"), while others made me cry ("An Ear For Language"). Still others struck a bit too close to home for comfort ("On The Back Stoop;" "The Breakup;" "Girls, Interrupted").

Without a doubt, you will see yourself in more than one of these essays, and I’d venture to guess you’ll identify with the emotion rippling through them all. My Other Ex will let you openly grieve the girlfriendships you’ve lost, and it will remind you to cherish those onto which you currently cling. Happy ending or sad, My Other Ex will allow you to think about your female friendships in a new light. And it will leave you feeling happy that you’ve been willing to give at least a part of your soul to another woman, good or bad, even if for just a little while.

A huge thanks to The Herstories Project Press for a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. They have TWO copies for some lucky readers in the US and/or Canada!

How to win:
Please tell us about your other ex. (No need to give names, you can just talk about how you met them to begin with or how the friendship dissolved.)

One entry per person.

Entries without contact information (e-mail address, Twitter account, Facebook page, etc.) will NOT be counted (and we do NOT count "Google +" as contact information).

US/Canada only. Giveaway ends October 19th at midnight EST.

Denise De Fabio Keliuotis is a Chicago native who recently relocated to Middle Tennessee with her husband and three daughters (one of whom is off at college – gasp!) She’s a licensed attorney but is not currently practicing, instead spending her time writing a memoir, volunteering at a hospice, and debating whether to break down and buy those cowboy boots.


Unknown said...

My most hurtful other ex was my friend xx. No name obviously. She and I worked together, traveled to visit family together, she was like a second Mom to my children and then she met a man who didn't like me. Wait....a man who never met me and didn't like me. Wow. She married him and didn't invite me to her wedding. I will tell you it took longer to get over than my ex husbands did.

bonlyn55 at yahoo dot com

rubynreba said...

I had a best friend starting in 1st grade. We were inseparable until high school when she decided that I wasn't cool enough for her! That really hurt and to this day, I still think about it.

Rhonda G said...

My ex and I met through work. Then grew apart after a few years but made me realize what I want in my relationships!

Sandie W said...

I grew up with a group of close girlfriends, that is until high school. We drifted into new friendships and apart from each other. To this day there are three of those friends that my heart still grieves for...maybe one day I will get closure...


rhonda said...

I realized that a friend I considered close always said vicious hurtful things about all our friends.i always felt horrible after a conversation with her&defending anyone else did no good.listening to the nasty comments made me feel sick&of course I knew she was also talking about me.
I finally said enough stood up for myself&haven't spoken to her scince.fresh air never smelled as clean,

traveler said...

My ex and I had a close friendship for fifteen years and we haven't spoken in 2 years. This rift has been on my mind but it also showed me how shallow she was and also how hurtful. I do not regret the loss but still sometimes question it. thanks for this captivating feature and book. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

petite said...

I still vividly remember a betrayal which took place when I was younger but was unforgettable. I was very good friends with this neighbor and our houses backed onto our backyards.This was in high school and I was new to the area. We would walk in the neighborhood, sit in the backyard, ride bikes and I thought that we were friends. Apparently not, because when she had her birthday party, I was not invited. Since she lived so close it was obvious and she purposely did this. I never spoke to her again. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

Annette said...

I met my other ex in junior high. We were best friends until the week after graduation. She went off and married a man who was black and I didnt hear from her for 10 years she finally contacted me while she was going through a divorce. I asked what I had done and she said she knew I would not have approved of her marrying someone of a different race. It was at that point I realized she didn't know me at all.

Rita Wray said...

I'm reading through the comments and feel bad for the people writing them. I don't have any bad experience to share.

Janine said...

I really don't have any bad stories to share. I have lost a lot of friends, but they pretty much fell apart after either of found relationships and focused on them or they were starting families.

Unknown said...

My 'ex' and I were as close as any friends can be, until her son decided to be friends with another boy in the neighborhood. The two boys who were both bigger than my son bullied my son (as adults they are all friends). My friend and the other boy's mother became very close and ignored what their sons were doing, even though they witnessed it daily.
When my 'ex' and her husband divorced, she came to me and I welcomed her with open arms. When another of my sons passed away, she was there for me. Our friendship is strong today, but there were many painful years we didn't speak.

Melissa Seng said...

I can't even venture a guess on where to start with this one, so I'll go with the ex from the longest time ago. We've remained the best of friends now, for over 20 years. He's an over-the-road truck driver and checks in with me each and every time he stops for a break or for the night, so I won't worry. He'd do anything at all for me, I'm sure, and if I could, I'd do the same. This is a happy story...all of my other ex stories are AWFUL!!! But, I'll keep it light and stick with this ex and our happy story.

bn100 said...

Still friends with them

bn100candg at hotmail dot com

Unknown said...

My ex was my best friend after college until she moved away. We tried to stay in touch but she decided she didn't want to. To this day I don't understand why we couldn't remain friends.

Melissa said...

Thanks for participating and telling us your "other ex" stories. Here are some of mine.

Thanks to The HerStories Project for sharing the books with our winners. chose TWO winners from all entries with contact info (one entry per person).

Congrats to Rhonda and Melissa Seng!