Riveting. Relevant. Oh so common, yet oh so different. Mariana Pasternak’s memoir about her friendship with Martha Stewart for 18 years and the demise of the friendship after Pasternak was subpoenaed to give testimony, and tell the truth, at Martha’s much publicized trial tells the story of many of us. Pasternak is emotional, a tad fearful, compliant; a conciliator who hates to say no with a wonderful need for adventure and a love of art and beauty. Martha, the Breck shampoo girl, remains her opposite: focused on money, fame, a rebel, an analytical mind, which seems fearless and also loves adventures. Mariana needs a push and Martha hates to be alone. Pasternak has flaws – she smooths over Martha’s rough edges, and does not confront Martha with “no” because she cannot tolerate Martha’s inability to hear no and the repercussions that follow. Martha’s fatal flaws – a lack of empathy, an intense self absorption and her need to control – everything provide a symbiotic friendship of polar opposites. These two brilliant women however find solace and fun, adventure and love in their friendship. Only when Pasternak must say NO does the drama end, leaving Pasternak’s life a shambles while Martha’s goes on –successfully.
A classic case of co-dependence with all its pitfalls and manifestations – victim, persecutor, and rescuer – we have all visited the Land of Friendship that hurts. Some friends can rise above and find the gray area of compromise and negotiation. Others are two black and white to allow that crack in their armor. This is a wonderful, endearing book told courageously with gentle truths and hard ones, joys and pain. Let’s face it – we all go here at one point or another with our closest friends. For those who can bend, our flaws and our friend’s flaws are forgiven, and the friendship grows strong, for we are truly known and loved for who we are. For those who cannot bend, there is no condemnation. Just sorrow and deep loss and a chance to know we have all done our best.
A must read for all and any of us who cherish friendship. Pasternak writes concisely and clearly and does not judge. She loses one life – and gains another. But her pain resonates on every page. Wonderful job.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Book Review by Broad “A” – Ava
The Best of Friends: Martha and Me is available at Amazon.com $17.15
Thank you to the Harper Collins for providing this title for our book review as well as this giveaway. We were in no way paid or compensated for our opinions.
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