Best Friends, by Martha Moody was first published June 4, 2002. It was Moody’s first attempt at a novel, and a bit of a rocky one. Though, Best Friends was named a National Bestseller, the book received countless negative reviews. The story, told in first person through the main character, Claire Mann, chronicles 20 or so years of a friendship between Claire and Sally that birthed during their freshman year of college as roommates. Together they go through deaths, births, new jobs, and a slew of men.
Moody is fairly new to the writing scene. A physician from Dayton, Ohio, her first piece of literature was short story titled “Like the Arrival of Angels” that was a finalist for The Best American Short Stories. She also occasionally writes articles for the Dayton Jewish Observer under the byline Martha Moody Jacobs.
Most readers say Best Friends is missing one key detail: a dramatic ending. After numerous dramatic scenes of death, drug use, and pornography, it leaves readers expecting something tragic to end the twisted tale of these two friends. However, the fact that no such dramatic ending exists enhances the reality of the novel. Rarely in life are there dramatic endings that solve all the problems. People, or in this case characters, must learn to cope with their hardships and go on living.
Moody uses an adequate amount of dialogue that is both clear and concise to portray her characters. However, oftentimes there is no attribution indicating who is saying what. Re-reading the passage may be necessary to get the full grasp of the scene. However, Moody also employs a soliloquy-like prose in which Claire’s thoughts run rampant. These long entries of her thoughts are responsible for much of the plot and character development. This method is adequate based on the style of the novel as a whole, but a bit juvenile as a writing style.
A suggested audience for Best Friends is females between the ages of 18 and 40 because anyone between those ages can relate to the college experience, marriage, divorce, or childbearing. Aspects of the novel such as the pornography and the AIDS epidemic restrict the novel to at least a PG-13 level and limit the audience around 40s due to cultural differences.
Since the publication of Best Friends, Moody has written her second novel titled The Office of Desire that was released Aug. 2, 2007.