The Herstories Project: A Review

Written by Emily

I can feel the cold black, macadam under my bottom. I see the stars peeking between the tree lined properties in front of us. We’re just sitting, my best friend and me, hashing and rehashing the drama that plagues middle school girls. And we laugh. How we laugh. Years later we’re college roommates with better hair, but we’re crying on her bedroom floor while a sad singer-songwriter croons in the background. Fast forward 10 years and I’m meeting her fiance for the first time in a swanky apartment in the city. The conversation is easy. It always is with her.

We’re under a bus seat en route to our game. With pillows under our heads and knee pads on our knees, we’re wondering if those boys are the ones for us. We’re whispering and giggling and becoming fast friends with chewed gum and things too gross to mention only inches from our foreheads. None of that matters though when life is happening all around us and there’s only 45 minutes to discuss it. Years later, we’re dancing on the bar and those same boys we talked about years before are laughing at us. And then she’s in my wedding. And then I’m in hers. And now we’re chasing our little ones on the beach. The conversation is easy. It always is with her.

I was so inspired by The HerStories Project that I want to tell you more than the abridged version of these friendships. I want to marinate in the memories of these women and all the other women in my life who made me whole.



A few weeks ago, the creative genius behind The HerStories ProjectJessica Smock and Stephanie Sprenger, asked if I’d be interested in reading and reviewing their collection of friendship stories. I happily agreed because I selfishly wanted to read something just for me. That it was written by women in the blogosphere I respect and admire was a bonus.

The anthology did not disappoint. I read in the nighttime hush with my children’s heavy breathing in the background. As if in a dream, a montage of friendships present and past played in my mind as though I were flipping through a scrapbook of my life. Faces I haven’t seen in too long made appearances, laughs sounded around me. It was a gift.

The Herstories Project is exactly what I needed. There in the dark, huddled in front of my glowing screen, I felt normal. I felt normal for needing friendships. I felt normal for failing at friendships. I felt normal for wanting to make friends and normal for not having the time. While the words in the collection are not mine, the stories resonated so powerfully in me that I developed a girl crush on several of the writers–Carisa Miller and her friend Leslie, Galit Breen as she sat on her porch to pen her friends, Kathy Radigan with her federation of moms, Jean and her 2 a.m. support and on and on.

With their wit and charm and insight, these women confided in me, their reader, about the power of friendship. In the end, I wanted nothing more than to call my girlfriends, send them letters, and shower them with the love they deserve. Because without them, I would only be a piece of the woman I am today.

If you’ve ever had a friend, if you want one, if you’ve outgrown a friendship–there is something in The Herstories Project for you. I recommend you squeeze a copy into a stocking, send a dog-eared copy to a distant pen pal, tuck one under the sink for a rare moment of bathroom silence. Your friends are waiting in its pages.

Happy Reading!

27 comments for “The Herstories Project: A Review

  1. December 6, 2013 at 8:36 am

    Thank you so much, Emily, for this beautiful review. I absolutely love the story at the beginning — a glimpse into your own life and how a friendship has shaped it. We’re so happy that it made you reflect on your own history of friendships. And I have to say that I’ve developed “girl crushes” on our contributors too! They’re an amazing group of women!

    • December 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm

      You are so very welcome! I was happy to do it! So much good stuff in the collection 🙂

  2. December 6, 2013 at 9:00 am

    Thank you so much for such a great review of The HerStories project. Jessica and Stephanie did an amazing job putting together stories about friendship, I could not finish it fast enough and am beyond honored to have an essay in it!! I think you summed the book up perfectly!! Love you!!

    • December 7, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Kathy, your piece is fantastic! I was happy to read the book and write a review. Easy task for sure!

  3. December 6, 2013 at 9:01 am

    You are awesome. Each time I can squeeze one of your essays into my morning feels like a gift to me, thank you.

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:00 pm

      Well, that is a lovely thing to say! Thank you for the compliment. I feel the same way about your posts as well. When I read your piece for the book, it was so similar to my story with Michelle! We met as co-workers. She got pregnant first. The rest is history…herstory 🙂

  4. December 6, 2013 at 9:39 am

    I have to weigh in, too! This review is breathtaking- the way you described your reaction to the book is exactly how Jessica and I felt when we decided to start the friendship series after reading the book that inspired it- She Matters. Thank you for your beautiful words- I cannot believe how perfectly you encapsulated everything we hoped the book would represent to women, not to mention your own inspiring friendship story.

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:02 pm

      Stephanie, you are very welcome. I admire you and Jessica and the work you do. It’s easy to read quality material!

  5. December 6, 2013 at 10:07 am

    This review is exactly what I needed to read this morning. I love the way that you describe the small moments that make up a lifetime of your friendship at the beginning, and the way that the book made you want to hug your friends even closer. I feel exactly the same way reading through the essays, and am so honored to have one in there amid so many beautiful pieces. Jessica and Stephanie did a remarkable thing in putting this book together, and we are all better for having read it.

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:03 pm

      I am so glad you liked it! The entire collection truly made me miss my girlfriends! You can truly be proud of this work! Well done!

  6. December 6, 2013 at 12:22 pm

    Lovely review from a lovely writer! Thank you.

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:05 pm

      Thank you! You are so very welcome. Your writing always resonates with me. I can’t tell you how often I think of your pieces…like the NYC steps one. I keep thinking again and again that children are allowed to take up space, to be members of this world, to move at their own pace. So much to think about.

  7. December 6, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    What a fantastic review!! I’ve had the same reaction while reading it. I’m inspired and comforted by all the pieces. It makes me thankful for the friends in my life and appreciate the journey I’ve been on with others who are no longer friends of mine.

    I’m so incredibly honored to be a part of this anthology!!

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:06 pm

      You certainly should be proud of this anthology. You’ve done such great work and are in good company. Excellent work!

  8. December 6, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    The words that come out of you! They fly up from the page to drench me in rich emotion. Thank you.

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:07 pm

      Carisa, I am blushing. Thank you. I’m happy to play a teeny, tiny role in this anthology’s success. I hope everyone buys one (or ten) for their girlfriends! And I hope Leslie appreciated your piece!

  9. December 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm

    What everyone else said.

  10. Catherine Pasierb
    December 6, 2013 at 3:45 pm

    I am looking forward to reading! I am in the “second half” of my life and I can attest to the everlasting comfort and support of good friends.

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Can you say stocking stuffer? 🙂

  11. Judy Burcik
    December 6, 2013 at 4:54 pm

    Tears filled my eyes as I read. There is nothing better in this life than to have friends. Your heart grows and your problems disappear (if only for a while).

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      You are so very right, Judy! Where would we be without them?! I never want to know!!!

  12. Michelle
    December 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm

    You left me completely interested in reading. Beautifully written, Em! Love you. 🙂

    • December 7, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      And you know I love you! I could write a novel about how your friendship saved me again and again…maybe I will 😉

  13. December 8, 2013 at 12:34 pm

    Thanks so much for reviewing the book! Glad you enjoyed it!

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