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Extended Audio Sample She Matters: A Life in Friendships, by Susanna Sonnenberg Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (303 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Susanna Sonnenberg Narrator: Susanna Sonnenberg Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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From bestselling author Susanna Sonnenberg comes a stunningly candid, compulsively readable, and intensely provocative book about female friendships.

A ruthless and illuminating exploration of the friendships that dominated, influenced, nourished, inspired, and haunted her—and sometimes tore her apart—Susanna Sonnenberg has written a book as searing and superb as her first book about her mother, Her Last Death.

Childhood friendships, friendships with older women, friendships that play out with the passion and intensity of love affairs, and the friendships between new mothers—each has its own subtleties, its own lessons that Sonnenberg examines and understands with astounding acuity. Sonnenberg’s style is investigative and ruminative; the result is candid and fearlessly observed portraits of the nuances and complexities of friendships that become universally recognizable.

For women of all ages, She Matters is testimony to the emotional significance of the sometimes intense and powerful bonds of female friendships—and the essential role they play in our journey to adulthood and our deepening humanity.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “With remarkable candor, wit, and wisdom, Susanna Sonnenberg fearlessly examines her female friendships since childhood, brilliantly articulating the ways each sustained, sometimes devastated, and ultimately defined her. She Matters: A Life in Friendships is a dazzling, poetic love letter to what women share, an unforgettable memoir you’ll immediately want to pass along to friends.”

    Kate Walbert, New York Times bestselling author

  • “In her stunning second memoir, a collection of linked essays, Sonnenberg finds universal truths in her experiences of female friendship.”

    People (4-star review)

  • “Sonnenberg’s book reminds us how profoundly we’re affected by our friendships….You’ll want to share this with, yes, a friend.”


  • She Matters lingers with you, inviting you to construct a patchwork quilt of your own life and salute the many women who helped you along the way.”

    New York Times Book Review

  • She Matters artfully reveals the depth and gravity of love between women as they make sense of the changing and often treacherous emotional and logistical terrain of their forward-moving lives.”

    Boston Globe

  • “Sonnenberg’s memoir is a dark and intriguing piece of writing, a brutal self-examination of her relationships with women.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • “Sonnenberg, who’s aware of her passions and ambivalences, and doesn’t hide from them, made me think about what a friendship is, anyway…She’s written something that interests, exhausts, moves, perplexes, impresses, and, yes, matters.”

    NPR, All Things Considered

  • “Sonnenberg is a beautiful writer…In this gallery of friendships, the portrait of each woman is so well drawn we grasp their significance and savor the intimacy.”

    New York Daily News

  • “[Sonnenberg’s] vivid prose is confessional and precise…Sonnenberg’s intensity might be rough on friendships, but it makes for charged storytelling.”

    Dallas Morning News

  • “These are the stories of real women. Sonnenberg’s hard-core honesty, sharp detail, and lovely prose make this a collection worth passing on to a friend.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “A fiercely intimate look at the significant female relationships in the author’s life and how they’ve come to define her.”

    Missoula Independent

  • “Sonnenberg’s strikingly honest depictions of tumultuous female alliances and confessions about friendships are both moving and relatable; her depth of reflection and incandescent prose marks this exceptional memoir as a must-read to share among friends.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “The book’s honesty, eloquence, laugh-out-loud humor, finely wrought prose, and magnificent scope will keep readers eagerly turning the pages.”


  • “A mesmerizing and meticulously written work.”

    Library Journal

  • “With heart-rending precision, Sonnenberg offers an eloquent narrative that not only exposes but embraces the fraught nature of women’s relationships with each other.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • She Matters is so finely nuanced, so joyously serious, so wildly playful—to live with it, page by page, is a deep pleasure.”

    Nick Flynn, author of The Reenactments

  • “Sonnenberg dances close to the fire on every page, unmasking female friendship as a liberating, dangerous, and rigorous art. She Matters renders the messy self with gorgeous clarity. It’s the truest, most human book I’ve read all year—generous, hiliarious, ecstatic, and profound.”

    Carolyn Cooke, author of Daughters of the Revolution

  • A San Francisco Chronicle Best Book of 2013 in Nonfiction

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Gloria | 2/14/2014

    " I rated this high for the writing. She has a great way with description, with combining word pictures that make the idea she is trying to convey come alive. The topic, friendships, is explored from an almost totally egocentric perspective. Sonnenberg is forever trying to figure out why her friends don't seem to get her, why they don't fulfil all her needs. This book does show she is trying to understand and to change but for me it was quite clear she was looking for a mother. Read this in stages so you don't get bogged down in her angst and her over-the-top rhapsodising. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Shan | 2/11/2014

    " It's been several weeks and I'm still trying to sort out what to say about this one. It fesls very substantial (particularly on the heels of Julie Klam's Friendkeeping, although it's not really fair to compare them). While it can be frustrating to read Sonnenberg's tales of the rise (and often the subsequent fall) of friendship after friendship, you have to appreciate her self-awareness and candor. She's clearly not always easy to be friends with, but she's also clearly done a lot of thinking about each of these relationships and put them together into a very thoughtful, interesting memoir. Plus, the writing is fabulous. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Maria | 2/10/2014

    " She's a selfish, obtuse, narcissistic jerk. No wonder she can't keep any of her friends. "

  • 1 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 51 out of 5 by Purni Siddarth | 1/30/2014

    " Too much of whining. I am about 90 pages in and I cannot stand the nagging tone/character. She comes across as being so self-centered. I have been a teenager too and in those years all you care about is yourself. Every page I turn I hope for her to see the good aspects in a friend and appreciate them for who they are, value them for their abilities. Instead she is concerned only about how each friend treats her, rather how she wants each friend to treat her as the center of the universe! Bah! I quit. "

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