The Friendship Test

Frederica (Freddie), Sarah, Tamsin and Reagan meet in college in the 1980s. Freddie, Sarah and Tamsin hit it off immediately and become a group, while it takes a while for Reagen – with her quirky nature and rude behaviour – to be accepted into it. The foursome calls themselves the Tenko Club, after the 1980s UK television show about Singaporean women who were taken prisoners by the Japanese. The Club is very serious about one thing – that each friend will always be there for the others, come what may.

Fast forward to the 2000s. The Tenko Club still exists – the foursome are still very much friends. However, things have changed. Sarah is no more. Reagan has issues of her own to deal with, and Freddie seems to be caught in a dead-end in her marriage. Tamsin, passionate and friendly and exuberant, as always, acts as a pacifier. Suddenly things change, and the three remaining friends – along with Matthew, Sarah’s husband – are forced to look at things, and each other, differently.

I picked up this book because it seemed to be a nice, relaxing read, something that I could use to take a break or curl up with on a lazy day. And I have LOVED all of Elizabeth Noble’s other books – I have felt a connection with them and always felt that they were more than chick-lits, being easy reads at the same time.

I must say I liked this book too, but I didn’t feel the same kind of bond with it as Noble’s other books. It seemed to be rather forced in some parts, highly chick-lit-ish and superficial and Bollywoodish in other parts. When I read Noble’s books, I am usually awed by how well she sketches out the nuances of the characters, and how can see right into their brains. However, I found this book lacking on that count.

The Friendship Test is largely about Freddie’s life and, to a smaller extent, Reagan’s. I wish it had also included the stories of Tamsin and Sarah.

I am not saying the book is horrible – it is fun in some parts, and some parts are brilliantly written in typical Noble style – but I was left feeling a tad disappointed at the end. I found it a highly average read, not what I would have expected from Noble.

Have you read this one or any other books by Noble? What are your thoughts about them?

PS: With this, I have read ALL of Noble’s books. Yay! I do love the topics that she picks up and the way she writes.


12 thoughts on “The Friendship Test

  1. first things first…three cheer for having read an author’s all publications!! doesn’t happen often,does it? 🙂 well I’ve done only Sydney’s series so far…haven’t been able to do it again for any other author 😦 But I would love to do Nora, Danielle, Thrity,Mitch…to name a few!

    Regarding the book, I will give it a pass!


    1. @Jas

      If you like strong women characters who aren’t bimbos and have a good head above their shoulders, you will love Noble’s books. She develops her characters beautifully – you can almost see into their brain.

      I haven’t reviewed any Noble books on this blog. If you want to start, though, I would recommend her Things I Want My Daughters To Know and The Girl Next Door.


      1. @Jas

        Sort of yes. I could relate beautifully with the book The Girl Next Door. The name kept flashing in my mind when I was looking for names for my blog – and I thought it went pretty well with the kind of subjects I would largely be writing about.


  2. First time here, but think I might have read you earlier elsewhere. I especially like your book posts.
    Haven’t read any of Noble’s books, but from your description of her books that you liked, think you would like Marian Keyes’ ‘The other side of the story’, and maybe Jennifer Weiner ‘In her shoes’.


  3. I have read ‘The Reading Group’, and yes, I agree with you on her insight into the characters’ minds. I also loved the way the various stories converged towards the end.

    I have been eyeing ‘Things I want my daughters to know’ for a while now.


    1. @Sandhya

      She gives her readers a peek into the minds of the characters, right? I almost feel like the character myself when I am reading her books. 🙂

      I didn’t like The Reading Group much (I loved the characters, but there wasn’t much of reading in the book). I LOVED her Things I Want My Daughters to know. I would also recommend her The Girl Next Door. One of my most favourite reads of all times.


  4. Err..TGND, I have a doubt. In the second para, second line, you say Sarah is no more. And in the last line of the same para you mention : foursome is forced to look at things, and each other, differently How come?

    Someday, you should put up the pics of your book-shelf, what say 😛


    1. @Visha

      Oops, that was an error. Have corrected it now. 🙂
      Thanks for pointing it out.

      Sadly, my bookshelf is not in a fit condition to be photographed and put up on my blog. Once when it is spic and span and good-looking, I will put it up. Hope that happens soon, though. Fingers crossed. 🙂


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