I have always been able to count on Jules for excellent book recommendations—from Dorothy Parker to Jhumpa Lahiri, that girl has great literary taste! So when she suggested we start a long-distance book club of our own, I was 100% on board. We figured it was a great excuse to 1) read more and 2) send each other surprises in the mail. (Rather than choosing a book together, we agreed to switch off each month and mail the other person our pick. Fun, right?)
For our first selection, I chose Graduates in Wonderland: The International Misadventures of Two (Almost) Adults. Written in the form of email correspondence between two best friends, this memoir tells the story of Jess and Rachel in their formative years after graduating from college. Before moving to opposite sides of the world, the two girls vow to stay in touch with each other via detailed weekly email updates. The result is a hilarious, unflinchingly (and at times, embarrassingly) honest glimpse into the realities of living abroad, maintaining a long-distance friendship, dealing with relationship drama and navigating life as an actual adult (personally, I’m still figuring that one out).
Since Julia and I haven’t lived in the same city in ten years, and we’ve both spent time living abroad, I found this book incredibly relatable. But anyone who’s ever moved somewhere new, missed a faraway friend or struggled to figure out what they’re doing with their life will see a bit of themselves reflected in Jess and Rachel’s story.
A word from Jules:
The only element of the book I found tiresome was how so much of their lives and their correspondence was centered on the men in their lives! While I certainly understand how a crush can dominate a significant portion of one’s thoughts (we’ve all been there), I wish the storyline was a little more complex than simply following the women from one tryst to another. Mil and I certainly have spent many an hour talking about boys, but I don’t see romantic relationships as the primary plot points in our lives and our friendship. (My husband just reminded me that our marriage was pretty big event in the course of both of our lives…)
What are some of your favorite books this summer? If you read Graduates, let us know what you think!