I read all the Traveling Pants books years ago and loved every moment of them. Each girl had her unique personality and they all eventually ended up back together and back on the same page no matter what obstacles got in their way. I guess I identified most with Carmen as I read the books. I saw this new one on the shelves and had to pick it up. The girls have grown up and are 30 now? I'm 30 now. What are these ladies up to? I had to know.
I will say this. I was shocked as I read the first few chapters. I couldn't believe the girls had let themselves go. No one had kids yet. Each had a career. But they'd lost touch. So when Tibby reaches out from Australia to bridge the divide finally, I was just as excited as Bee, Lena, and Carmen to get a ticket to Greece for a reunion. However, the reunion isn't what they imagined. From early on Brashares throws you a curve ball with this book. For the longest time I wasn't sure what to think, but I went with it and I finished the book.
I can't really say too much more, but I can say that you get a look into each girl's life, of course. Each of these sisters has faced challenges that many of us young ladies face every day: questions about life, marriage, children, career, balance, etc. It's hard. It's hard for the. I appreciated what I saw each woman working through because I did think that their problems were real.
I did have a few issues with the characters, though. When I first met back up with Carmen, she's a famous actress on a crime show and she doesn't eat and she's a size 2?? I seriously wondered if this really could have happened to her? Carmen was proud of her curves. She didn't let people bully her around, and now she's just a robotic actress mindless attending premiers and parties with her executive producer fiancee?? I didn't buy it. Bee's store made sense to me, and Lena's too, as well as Tibby's, but I think I was most disappointed in Carmen when I saw where these girls were years later.
It was a fast read, and I did like it. I wanted to get to the end and piece everything together. And of course, like all the other books in the series, what matters here is friendship. Life will bring us changes. Life will disappoint us. Life will shock us. Life will lead us places we didn't imagine going. But in the end, we have friends to help us on that journey. These girls always end up back together and they pick up where they left off. That's what real friends can do. They can forgive and move on. They can start over every day if they have too. As a young mother, wife, teacher, friend, daughter, sister, everything - I know how it can feel like you are not meeting the needs of everyone in your life, but you just gotta do your best. And you must find some people to lean on. Real friends are hard to come by, so you must reach out and try again, even if it's been a while or even if life seems too busy. It'll be worth it in the end and sharing life's moments with those you love is the most important thing of all.