Book review: To My Sisters

To My Sisters: A Guide to Building Lifelong Friendships

Renée Kapuku and Courtney Daniella Boateng

Pan Macmillan

Review: Carmen Jacobs

One would think that by the time that you’re well into adulthood you would know how to navigate friendships, be knowledgeable on the intricacies and requirements of making new friends and maintaining old friendships, but reading this book proved to be an eye-opener.

Ever since childhood I have thought of myself as someone who could make friends easily.

Not only do I make friends without too much effort, but I was good at maintaining those friendships for years.

I would also, as the years went by, instinctively know who I would click with and who I should steer clear of, so it was easy for me to discern and be selective of friends and colleagues I spent my time with.

But once I started reading the book, I realised that there were so many unofficial rules or “unspoken recipes” for friendships that I was completely clueless on.

What I thoroughly appreciated about the book was the amount of introspection it encouraged, as well as providing guidelines on how to do it.

It gave clear-cut instructions on how to evaluate and honestly ask yourself the hard questions on your role in friendships, especially failed ones.

Be warned though, all the activities designed for the purpose of self-introspection can be hard work and require a lot of time.

For this reason, I would recommend the book only to those who are truly committed to doing ‘all’ the emotional work (which at times feels draining) and making the changes required to creating and maintaining more meaningful friendships.

Overall, the book really touched on all aspects of friendships, the good, the unpleasant, hurtful, and often unspoken difficulties.

One of my favourite sections was the one featuring different friend profiles.

I hope this newfound knowledge

on friend profiles will be helpful in identifying friends better suited to my own personality.

It might also help one understand and have more empathy for current friends and to not hastily discard friendships because the friend profile is different than your own.

A section I wasn’t fond of was the one on goal setting and friendships or sisterhood. I felt as women we get bombarded and overburdened daily from different platforms with advice and prompting on how to set and reach what sometimes seem like impossible goals.

All this “motivation” can at times make us as women feel inadequate in our current state with always feeling pressured into becoming a “better version of ourselves”.

The book also addresses struggles women are often confronted with and how these external pressures can influence the state of our friendships or even cause an unwillingness to make new friends.

This brought a whole new understanding of why some friendships can be hard to maintain.

Overall, the book sheds light on how things relating to friendships are not always black and white, and how we sometimes wrongly expect our friendships to be static, even though they are ever-changing, growing, developing, evolving relationships, hugely influenced by what goes on around us.

There were a lot of “aha” moments throughout the book.

It highlighted the value of good friendships and how it can enrich your life.

In times when loneliness is at its peak, the book inspired me to put more effort into being a good friend.