I admit, quite unabashedly in fact, that some of my best relationships have been the platonic kind, with my fellow girlfriends. Be it with my friends from my childhood, college acquaintances that have turned into BFFs, or work besties that make going to office so much more fun—things wouldn’t be the same without my girl group having my back.
If you feel the same way, here are six classics that raise a big toast to the power of female friendships.
Swing Time by Zadie Smith
Yes, female friendships are all about supporting one another, celebrating highs and navigating through lows, together. But we would be lying if we say that we haven’t felt a slight tinge of jealousy towards our gal pals at some point in our lives. Zadie Smith went ahead and wrote a whole book based on this complicated emotion. It’s about Tracey and Aimee, two childhood friends in London who dream of being dancers, but only one has the chops to do so. They break off their friendship in their early twenties and move on but when they meet much later in adulthood, all the mixed feelings come rushing back. We loved this one for how real it was.
My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante
Elena Ferrante’s Neapolitan novels are a master class in female friendship, and the first one in the series shines a light on the bond between childhood BFFs Elena and Lila, born out of surviving poverty and violence in mid-20th century Naples. They are bombarded with the complexities of life—love, jealousy, and betrayal—but stay connected through all the storms that come their way. The book shows how messy but *totally* fulfilling platonic friendships with the women in your life are.
Sula by Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison needs no introduction—her soul-searing books put human relationships front and centre. Sula is no different—it explores the complicated relationship between besties Nel and Sula, who must navigate their friendship through sexism, racism, and personal conflicts and the way they hurt each other in the process. If you’re looking for a tear-jerker that will make you think about your ex-BFF, then this is the one.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
Most of the books on this list explore friendship that is born out of contrasts, not similarities. But in this popular novel, Amy Tan traces the growing camaraderie between four Chinese immigrants who have one evident common ground—they all just moved to San Francisco. This search for familiarity in strange lands is what binds the four protagonists together. Every time we read this book, we can’t help but root for them as they get over their joys and sorrows in unity. It will leave you appreciating your girlfriends— and the fact that you can always confide in them—even more.
The Help by Katherine Stockett
Chances are you watched the movie before you came across the book, but leave all book-movie comparisons at the door before you dive into this classic. The story traces four women from different socio-economic backgrounds in 1960s Mississippi as they come to terms with the racially-charged community they live in and what it means for each of them. All four are put together in an increasingly dangerous situation and they must rely on each other to come out unscathed. This riveting read never fails to move us.