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Books

book review

‘She Matters’ by Susanna Sonnenberg

Women guide one another through life; this is the central message of Susanna Sonnenberg’s second memoir, “She Matters: A Life in Friendships.” The author tracks her development as a woman, an artist, a lover, wife, and mother through the prism of her female friendships, some fleeting, some decades-long.

These connections prove as formative, if not more so, than many of her relationships with men, which are a side element of this remarkably written — if occasionally uneven — book. These female guides are not benign or consistently benevolent — there are no pure or magical muses here, no easy plots or expected fixes. The women who populate Sonnenberg’s universe are feisty, edgy, problematic, fantastic, sexy, ambitious, secretive, neurotic, playful, intelligent, big-hearted, and fierce; in other words, they act as mirrors for the author herself, who becomes alternatively strange and recognizable to herself and to her reader through relationships that range from antagonistic, mutually supportive, “vital and exquisite and symmetrical,’’ sisterly, loving, sometimes sexual, worshipful, and in most cases, redemptive in some significant way.

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