Fictional Friends

Book Characters Who Are Actually My BFFs and Just Don’t Know It
by Meg Donohue


Since I enjoy reading a wide range of fiction, my bookshelves overflow with the stories of all sorts of characters. There are the characters who have made me laugh but would probably annoy me to pieces if I met them in person, the ones who are so dark and twisted that I could not stop reading their stories but would certainly run the other way if I caught a glimpse of them in real life … and then, every once in a while, I read the story of a heroine who worms her way so deeply into my heart that it seems like a profound loss to know we will never be able to meet over a martini.

Here are five of the ladies I’d most like to befriend in real life:

1. Madeline Mackenzie from Liane Moriarty’s BIG LITTLE LIES. Madeline is an awesome combination of being very social while not being a “Social Sheep” – she has a sharp, independent mind and forms her own opinions about the people who surround her. Her surface might be shiny and pretty, but there’s depth and heart to spare below. Plus, she’s hilarious.

2. Louisa Clark from ME BEFORE YOU by Jojo Moyes. What’s not to love about Lou? She funny and quirky and cares deeply about her family and friends. I’m excited to hang out with Lou again in Moyes’s upcoming sequel, AFTER YOU.

3. Chicky Starr from Maeve Binchy’s A WEEK IN WINTER. I adore Chicky’s no-nonsense competence and straightforward, hard-earned wisdom. She’s openhearted and warm, a down-to-earth fairy godmother for troubled souls. Everyone could use a Chicky in her life.

4. Jane Rosenal from Melissa Bank’s THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO HUNTING AND FISHING. Jane is extremely well-read and intelligent but doesn’t pretend to have all (or any) of the answers. She’s also delightfully sarcastic, a bit eccentric, and a dog lover. If she’d answered my Craigslist roommate post when I was in my twenties and living in New York, we could have gotten into some serious fun together.


5. Forgive me, but I’m afraid I must round out this list with a heroine of my own making here: Maggie Brennan from my latest novel, DOG CRAZY. Maggie is an endearingly odd duck. She’s funny, empathetic, a wonderful listener, a great friend to dogs and people alike, and a lover of wine and popcorn. My kind of woman!

Meg Donohue is the author of Dog Crazy, All the Summer Girls, and How to Eat a Cupcake. She has an MFA from Columbia University and a BA from Dartmouth College. Born and raised in Philadelphia, she now lives in San Francisco with her husband, three young daughters, and dog.

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