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.