01 November 2011

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship

by Lisa Verge Higgins

Allen and Unwin. Adult Other. Paperback RRP $27.99

Reviewer - Barbara Brown

Four girls, friends since high school. All now comfortable in their own worlds. They meet up when they can. But then Rachel Braun dies. The daredevil of the group, her death is a surprise but not completely unexpected. After all, she did spend her life travelling the world for the next thrill – jumping out of planes, off mountains and buildings.
The three that are left behind each receive a letter from the grave asking them each to do one small favour. The stay-at-home busy housewife/mum Kate is asked to jump out of a plane. Easier said than done, since Kate has a fear of heights. But when Kate lands on terra firma in front of the two remaining friends her life takes a big jump as well.

Sarah is an international relief worker/nurse living in a backwater town in Africa helping the locals survive against disease, bandits, starvation and the government. Her task seems simple and something she has longed to do. She is requested to search the world for her one true love. With the help of her friends, Sarah confronts the past which will allow her to continue with the future.

Jo, the advertising mogul, once voted ‘least likely to breed’, is given a request that she is positive has been a mistake. Not only is it wrong but how could Jo, the girl who grew up in foster homes and was never really loved by anyone, care for and rear Rachel’s seven-year-old daughter?

Rachel, it seems, really didn’t know what she was thinking when she wrote these three friends’ their letters… or could Rachel see past what Kate, Sarah and Jo are too blind to acknowledge?

The Proper Care and Maintenance of Friendship has been put on the top of one of my favourite stories to read. A wonderful story that I did not want to end.

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