The Kind of Friends We Used to Be
*In The Kind of Friends We Used to Be, there are two main characters, Kate and Marylin, but I’m just going to do Marylin for the parts where information about only a single character is needed.
Marylin is a cheerleader who cares too much about makeup and her hair. “Marylin was now a middle-school cheerleader and cared too much about her hair… she was a big believer that life could be just the way it looked in girls’ magazines, where you and all your Best Friends Forever got together before school started and made crafty decorations for your lockers and traded fingernail polish tips... Marylin believed that life could be sparkly all the time... It just took a little extra work and some lip gloss, and life would be like a TV show everyone wanted to watch.” (pgs 3-4) Because Marylin is now a cheerleader, she believes that everything she does reflects who she is, so she has to be pink and sparkly and absolutely perfect all the time, or else people won’t like her. “‘Seventh grade is a time for, I don’t know, hanging out with your group of friends and getting ready for high school. It’s about finding your own personal style.’” (pg 22) She doesn’t like to color outside the lines; she wants to be exactly who you would think a cheerleader would be. Her personality is very preppy and girly, so she tends to talk a lot and be very enthusiastic and overly dramatic about things. But her main problem is she doesn’t know how to have a real friend. “What an interesting experience, she thought later… To have a conversation and feel okay about it afterward. Quite frankly, Marylin hadn’t known that was possible.” (pg 167) This happened after Marylin had been talking with Kate, who she used to be best friends with before she had started hanging out with the cheerleaders and becoming all girly. She forgot what it was like to actually be able to talk to someone, to really talk, and to have that person talk right back. She forgot what it was like to have a real friend.
The main idea of The Kind of Friends We Used to Be is Marylin and Kate’s broken friendship that they are trying to repair, but just don’t know how. “Marylin turned and looked at Kate. ‘Do you ever miss it? Being all-the-time friends, like we used to be?’ Kate thought about this… What she said was, ‘Yeah, I miss it.’ And then Marylin laid her head on Kate’s shoulder for a second, and Kate did everything she could not to cry.” (pgs 156-157) This shows that they really do want to still be friends, but it’s not that easy. Throughout the book, everything that Marylin and Kate do to try and be friends again just pushes them further apart. It’s as if for every step they take, they must then take two steps backwards. Their differences are what creates this conflict. They are polar opposites, which just makes it that much harder for them to get along.
1) Guitar- This word is important because Kate becomes obsessed with the idea of learning how...