The Friendship War by Andrew Clements is a very interesting story about school life, friendship and fads. It is sure to remind the readers about some aspect of their own school life as they follow the incidents in the life of the heroine, Grace, during one summer vacation and afterwards when school reopens.
Grace visits her grandfather during the summer holidays and takes a tour of an old garment factory that he has bought and plans to renovate. When Grace takes interest in boxes full of buttons, he gives them all to her. And it is these buttons that go on to create more havoc in the life of little Grace than she bargained for.
When Grace’s best friend Ellie is only interested in telling about all the fun she had in her European vacation, Grace decides to bring some focus on herself and brings some buttons to school to make her own experience seem interesting.
Things do become interesting after this, in fact, too interesting for this leads to a button fad in school where, led by Ellie, the whole class is soon crafting things from buttons, collecting and trading them and what not. Things quickly spiral out of control as the two friends now become competitors in this button fad and eventually drift apart. Grace then finds that she can make other friends and even enjoy their company, but she also realises that everyone is going overboard in this button fad and tries to stop it.
Does she succeed? You will have to read it yourself to find out and I can tell you that you will enjoy it.
There are valuable lessons to be learnt from the story, such as reflection of what friendship really means, how irrational fads can be and how fast they can spiral out of control, about people and relationships being more important than objects, and taking ownership of one’s actions and mistakes.
The Friendship War is an enjoyable book that lets readers see some of their own experiences mirrored by the story and the realistic characters.
Published in Dawn, Young World, August 24th, 2019