Girls' Night Out:
Celebrating Women's Groups Across America

by Tamara Kreinin & Barbara Camens


Crown, 2002. ISBN 0609608673.
Reviewed by Judith Helburn
Posted on 08/11/2003

Anthologies/Collections; Nonfiction: Life Lessons

While I was weekending with my two "witch" friends, I discovered "Girls' Night Out" on a table in the central Minnesota cabin where we had come together for one of our twice-a-year gatherings. One of my friends noted that the next gathering will mark the tenth year we have retreated with one another from our busy lives—10 years since her divorce and her ex calling us witches.

Here is a book for me, and here is a book for Story Circle women. I was late in coming to relish the company of women, but I'm making up for lost time. Girls' Night Out affirms the phenomenon of women regularly scheduling time with women across the country. We may meet as sewing clubs, book groups, motorcycle groups, spirituality groups or under any other auspice. In the end, we return week after week or month after month or perhaps several times a year for the bond, the trust, the support and the sense of belonging. The authors found that there seems to be a constancy of membership, a sense of commitment, unconditional love and acceptance. These women show up for the others' life cycle events, celebrations and crises. Here is a place where we can be who we are and say what we think no matter how outrageous.

Kreinin and Camens follow an introductory analysis with chapter after chapter detailing women's groups that vary in outward appearances and initial purposes but come to embrace the attributes mentioned in the introduction.

From "The Bridgies":

"You know," Suzie adds, "when we were younger the differences mattered, we would point them out. I guess insecurity makes you do that. Now we care about the differences in a positive way. We admire and learn about each other's passions."

From "The Company of Women":

Many of us had come to associate female intimacy with danger and pain in our earlier lives. Being in the group has allowed us to reexamine those associations.

Girls' Night Out concludes with suggestions for forming and maintaining a women's group. Kreinin and Camens write well with a light touch and humor. They suggest keeping a journal or short history of gatherings and even have hints for leaving a group or disbanding graciously. Reading Girls' Night Out could help you either form a new group or inject new life into one that is drifting along. A good and inspiring book!

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