Cover Image: We Should Not Be Friends

We Should Not Be Friends

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Member Reviews

I do not usually read memoirs or non-fiction but I am so glad I read #weshouldnotbefriends by Will Schwalbe. This book epitomizes friendship, love, and life. I was really invested in what would happen next. It read like a novel. This book will teach you what you need to know about friendship if you pay attention. I am so glad I read this. Thank you to #netgalley and #knopf for this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.
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We all have crazy friendships ourselves but i find it so interesting to read about someone else’s friendship. I found myself reminiscing a lot of my college times when reading this.
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What an amazing book about friendship!! I absolutely adored this one. I had previously read and really enjoyed a book by Will Schwalbe, so I figured this would be up my alley. And what a great book about not judging a book by its cover, about how friendships grow and change through different seasons of life, and how to change along with those friendships. The importance of those longstanding, can-call-when-something-is-wrong sorts of friends is eternally valuable. This is one I absolutely will be recommending to all my friends and followers as it is such a relatable story of opposites attracting and to not judge people before you know their character. Thank you to the publisher and netgalley for a copy of this ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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Thank  you to Netgalley for this Advanced Copy of We Should Not Be Friends by Will Schwalbe.  While this wasn't my favorite memoir of the year, this really made me think about how my friends would write a book about us.
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We Should not Be Friends is a surprising read. I was not sure from the title where the book was going but I went along for the ride and I am glad I did. Will Schwalbe is a precise writer- and he knows how to express himself. But that was not always the case. At yale, he is invited to join a secret society ( the fact that this actually exists astounds me). The society is a true mix of students-Will, a who recently came out, was reticent to join. Who are these people and why am I here? He was reserved and unsure. His gay identity was not something he was initially comfortable with around others. Chris, aka Maxxy, is a sports guy, aiming to become a Navy Seal. A most unlikely friendship. Where you think they storyline would move into sappiness, it does not. These two distinctly different men stay distinctly different, and hide a lot of themselves from each other. And yet- when push comes to shove, they find each other over the years. And maybe it is shared history, or personal growth, but this tale makes the reader examine what does it take to be a friend, and when you have the chance to be a friend, do not hesititate.
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Thank you NetGalley for the ARC copy of this memoir.  Scwalbe takes us on an honest tour of his friendship.  The emotions shine through in the chapters and you feel the highs and lows that they experienced in their pesonal life.  You feel their friendship grow as the book continues.  A beautiful story that reminds us of the value of having someone by our side...even if they are geographically distant!
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Thank you for providing me the opportunity to review "We Should Not Be Friends” prior to publication. I am appreciative and leave my sincerity review voluntarily.
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Heartfelt memoir of a unique friendship that spanned decades.  Shows the power of relationships that stand the test of time and distance.
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What a title for a book!  I really enjoyed Mr. schwalbe’s first book and was excited to see  he had written another..

The story of Will and Chris’ lifelong friendship was an interesting and warm story.  I appreciated Mr. Schwalbe’s first novel more but I enjoyed this one and was glad I had read it.
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I was excited to read another book by Will Schwalbe after reading "The End of Your Life Book Club."  While I like his writing style, I was not as enthralled by this book.  Mr. Schwalbe opened his heart in this book, but it did not affect me in the way that his other book did.  Still, it was an interesting read about a friendship between two unlikely men.
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I absolutely loved We Should Not Be Friends.  This is the story of two Yale students who would not have met if not for the secret society they were both invited to join as incoming seniors.  The unlikely friendship is both heartwarming and a testament to the power of connection we have with other individuals.  This is the story of their friendship their senior year at Yale and the decades post graduation.  It is honest and raw and beautiful. It’s the story of a gay man as he navigates finding love and being an advocate for AIDS.  It’s the story of a jock who becomes a Navy seal, gets married, has children and starts a school.  It’s about their passions and how they support each other.  It’s an incredible testament to friendship that made me laugh and cry.  I loved it!!
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I know everyone's reviews are long and to be honest, ALL of them are accurate.  This is a fantastic book that shows the bonds of friendship.  On paper, these two should not be friends with how different they are.  Its not a perfect friendship and its tested often over the 40 years its been going on.  The writing, oh the writing, for some reason it did bring a little bit of a tear to my eye as I was reading.

Wonderfully written and Will Schwalbe has done it again!
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I have loved everything Will Schwalbe has written. This one was a little different from his others as it didn’t have the same emphasis on books and reading that his other ones did. Yet this story still hits home. Schwalbe does an amazing job of writing his own life experiences in a way that hits home for everyone that reads it. He makes it so easy to connect with himself and anyone else he writes about.
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Will Schwalbe made an unlikely acquaintance at Yale.. while Schwalbe was bookish, shy, and gay, Maxey was athletic, brash, and straight. Their relationship continued for many years, although they really didn’t communicate that often. Maybe this is what qualifies as male friendship- my experience with female friendship is so much deeper and closer. I would characterize Will and Maxey as more of a long term acquaintance. Thanks to NetGalley for providing this ARC to me.
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We Should Not Be Friends
The Story of a Friendship
By Will Schwalbe

The Writing is Stellar and the Story is Thought-Provoking


WE SHOULD NOT BE FRIENDS is a story about a forty-year friendship between two men who meet in college and were brought together only because of their many differences.  Will Schwalbe was an out-of-the-closet, gay bookworm with a penchant for Matt Dillon posters. Chris Maxey was a heterosexual wrestling jock who loved giving hugs and was always in motion.  The only commonality between Will and Maxey was that they both attend Yale and were part of a secret club. 

Despite these differences, the two remained friends long after their time together in college. Even though separated by thousands of miles, they periodically visited, called, or wrote to each other to keep in touch and share current happenings.  This book chronicles the decades of their unfettered lives in college in their twenties, through the recent years when they are dealing with Hurricanes, and Covid, pushing their sixties, and both battling health issues.

The friendship was not always a bed of roses for Will and Maxey. There were miscommunications and quiet periods that often got in their way of honesty.  But they kept coming back around, forgiving one another and trying harder to be the best friend they could be.  They learned much about life from each other, but it took a while to figure that out.

“All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness.  Without tolerance and mercy all friendship die.”   
David Whyte

The writing for this book is stellar, and the story is thought-provoking. An unlikely friendship always makes for a captivating read, but this is about more than the good times.  It's also about what happened in between when they weren’t always considerate or open with one another about what was really going on in their lives. In their later years, they were able to talk about the times when their friendship may have stumbled, and that brought them even closer together.  It’s a delightful story of both friendship and forgiveness.

Will Schwalbe authored WE SHOULD NOT BE FRIENDS in consultation with Chris Maxey, so there is a nice air of authenticity about the story. I had the pleasure of hearing Schwalbe talk about his friendship with Maxey and this book on a recent book tour, and I highly recommend the experience. 

Schwalbe has written several other books that I have also had the pleasure of reading. The End of Your Life Book Club (2012) was about the books he and his mother read when she was dying, and Books for Living (2016) was about how books can lead us to live a better life.  

Thanks to Netgalley for an advance reading copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Publisher    Knopf Publishing Group
Published   February 21, 2023
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By the time Will Schwalbe was a junior at college, he had already met everyone he cared to know: the theater people, writers, visual artists and comp lit majors, and various other quirky characters including the handful of students who shared his own major, Latin and Greek. He also knew exactly who he wanted to avoid: the jocks. The jocks wore baseball caps and moved in packs, filling boisterous tables in the dining hall, and on the whole seemed to be another species entirely, one Will might encounter only at his own peril.

All this changed dramatically when Will collided with Chris Maxey, known to just about everyone as Maxey. Maxey was physically imposing, loud, and a star wrestler who was determined to become a Navy SEAL (where he would later serve for six years). Thanks to the strangely liberating circumstances of a little-known secret society at Yale, the two forged a bond that would become a mainstay of each other's lives as they repeatedly lost and found each other and themselves in the years after graduation.

From New Haven to New York City, from Hong Kong and Panama to a remarkable school on an island in the Bahamas--through marriages and a divorce, triumphs and devastating losses--We Should Not Be Friends tracks an extraordinary friendship over decades of challenge and change. Schwalbe's marvelous new work is, at its heart, a joyful testament to the miracle of human connection--and how if we can just get past our preconceptions, we may find some of our greatest friends.

I really enjoyed this memoir.
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This is the story of a gay man’s long term friendship with a straight man. These two men with very different personalities met in college and have continued their friendship for decades, although at times it waxed and waned. One is fortunate to have friends like these in their lives and it was interesting to read their perspectives.
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Schwalbe's book "We Should Not Be Friends" is a breath of fresh air. It is insightful and moving. Male friendships seem almost taboo these days, unless referring to a 'bromance' so it was nice to see a more emotional, meaningful look into this relationship. 

This book really made me think about my life and relationships I've had, and the ones I haven't had. Have I made assumptions about people or had preconceived notions that have prevented me from developing deep, meaningful friendships? 

I am normally drawn to thrillers and suspense, but this was the refreshing palate-cleanser I didn't know I needed.
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In 1979 a girl walked into the very small private christian school I had already been at for a year and completely changed my life. From the moment I walked up to her and introduced myself [something I NEVER did], we became inseparable and in her I found not only a life-long friend, but someone who truly spoke the same "language" that I did and got me more than anyone outside of my family [and not all of them to be honest] did. I have never taken that for granted and after reading this amazing book by Will Schwalbe, I am even more grateful for her and am glad that there are other people out there that have people like I do. 

From the first page, this book struck a chord with me and by the end, I found myself weeping - it was such a treat to read about such an amazing friendship that has endured so much and continues to flourish so many years later - it is what everyone wishes for when they start a friendship with someone [and some of us are lucky to get]. 

Much like Will and "Maxey", Joy and I were separated by years [we had two years of non-stop friendship and then due to so many things, didn't see each other or speak again {though we looked for each other} until late 2013/early 2014 and then didn't physically see each other until our first book club meeting in 2015 and OH THE TEARS. It was glorious. Reading about how Will and Maxey reconnected again and again and how their friendship grew and continues to grow and they continue to learn from each other just made me glad, that in spite of the years lost, Joy and I DID get to reconnect and it was literally like no time had passed and it continues to be like that. 

This book is just so great - it has all the best things in it. It has memories, love, friendship, and books. It also talks about all the hard stuff that comes with an almost lifetime friendship - never does Mr. Schwalbe shy away from all the tough stuff and I, as the reader, found so much insight in the things he has learned from being friends with Maxey [and I think you will too]. 

If you have ever had that "ONE" friend, this book will touch in ways you will not expect and will make you want to pick up the phone to make plans. WELL DONE!!!

**I listened to the audiobook [via Audible] of this and it was glorious. I cried through most of the "Coda" chapter and then the surprise at the end. I highly recommend experiencing this book that way. 

Thank you to NetGalley, Will Schwalbe, Chris Maxey [because truly, this book would not exist without him so he needs thanked too] and Knopf, Pantheon, Vintage, and Anchor for providing this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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You don't often see books focusing on male friendships, so Will Schwalbe's We Should Not Be Friends definitely fills a much-needed void.

Schwalbe begins his story as a junior at Yale when he is selected to become a member of the Skull and Bones Society -- an elite secret club of 15 seniors who will bond together during their last year.  As a gay man in the early 1980s, when AIDS was a new and mysterious disease and homosexuality was not a topic often discussed openly, Schwalbe is definitely not in his element as a Skull and Bones member.  Despite the differences among the 15 students, Schwalbe forms an unlikely friendship with Chris Maxey ("Maxey"), a loud, boisterous jock and the last person who Schwalbe would feel comfortable with.

Schwalbe details their ongoing friendship throughout the years, though you often sense that Schwalbe is awkward and uncomfortable around Maxey most of the time.  Though the friendship has lulls of several years when the two don't keep in touch, it seems that the friendship between Schwalbe and Maxey picks up wherever it leaves off.  And as these men age, they begin to open up more to each other -- clearing away any misconceptions that they may have harbored during the years.  

A lovely memoir focusing on how friends must learn to embrace the similarities that bring them together as well as celebrate the differences that make each of them unique.

Thank you to #NetGalley and Knopf for providing this ARC of #WeShouldNotBeFriends.
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