Book review of The Friendship Cure by Marc Louis-Boyard

Kate Leaver, The Friendship Cure – BOOK REVIEW #11

The Friendship Cure is the result of astonishing and comprehensive research led by journalist Kate Leaver. An ambitious project now organized and cemented for everyone’s pleasure.

A few days ago, Paper Sparrows taught us about family and its many dynamics. This week, The Friendship Cure enlightens us on the notion of friendship and its many faces, even the most unexpected and obscure.

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Kate Leaver, The Friendship Cure (Prelude Books): our review.

Friendship, stripped down

The Friendship Cure isn’t limited to a social approach. No déjà vu in sight: this book even tackles the fields of chemistry and history without watering down the work cited. This cross-domain approach is refreshing and proves that this book can even seduce and satiate the usual know-it-all. An early review accused the book of being written for twentysomethings, omitting  there’s no age for fresh data.

The author also dedicates a few chapters to common social mysteries like the phenomenons of bromance and sisterhood, adding insightful openings and personal points of views to each phenomenon deciphered.

Leaver’s accounts also form a work of disambiguation, and here resides the value of The Friendship Cure. Do you think that social isolation and loneliness are roughly the same? Think again. Better: read the book!

My research and the time I spent thinking about friendship as well as talking to experts and strangers really helped me think about it more deeply than I ever had before.

– Excerpt from our interview with the author

The Friendship Cure by Kate Leaver - Ebook version
Ebook lives matter.

The lost art of maybes, or the researcher's pleasant humility

The author’s research is well-conducted and matches the rules of the art of social science. Most importantly, The Friendship Cure shines by Kate’s own doubts and tactful suppositions on what’s left unsaid

The educated reader will understand that these doubts are not the evidence of a lack of seriousness, but proof of thoughtful work. Forget about the many lifestyle gurus flourishing here and there: Leaver’s approach refreshes lifestyle literature by its light uncertainties and assumed bits of candor.

I would say that sometimes the most powerful thing we can do is tell our own stories, so I can imagine that’s why some people gravitate towards writing about themselves, as I do. (…) I still find the topic of friendship, and certainly the experience of it, extremely magical. 

– Excerpt from our interview with the author

Friendship Cure Fairy Lights_Cosy

Beyond friendship

The topic of friendship is often soothing in the popular mindset, but this book reveals that it’s not all pink. The testimonies are all touching and relevant, from the mental highs of happiness to the hard lows of depression and despair. That being said, the author declared that she had no further interest for exploring the dark side of friendship, at least for now.

Literary speaking, the reader will find it hard to not appropriate Leaver’s writing style and adopting it unconditionally. The heaviest paragraphs of the book are rendered with warmth and empathy. Kate’s voice is the voice of the real, a voice that sticks to the mind for the better.

Loneliness, to Amy, is like going to a silent disco, but she’s the only one without any music playing in her headphones. It’s alienating, it’s isolating, it makes her the only person unable to sway or swing or boogie to the same beat as everyone else.

– Excerpt from The Friendship Cure

Kate Leaver, The Friendship Cure (Prelude Books)

Available now.

Our best friends, Twitter followers, gal-pals, bromances, Facebook friends, and long distance buddies define us in ways we rarely openly acknowledge. But as a society, we are simultaneously terrified of being alone and already desperately lonely. We move through life in packs and friendship circles and yet, in the most interconnected age, we are stuck in the greatest loneliness epidemic of our time. It’s killing us, making us miserable and causing a public health crisis. Increasingly, we don’t just die alone; we die because we are alone. What if meaningful friendships are the solution?

Portrait of Kate Leaver by Matthew Thomson
Courtesy of Matthew Thomson

About Kate Leaver

Kate Leaver is a journalist and author. Her work has been published by The Guardian, The Independent, The Telegraph, British Vogue and Refinery29. She writes a weekly column for Metro, called Lean On Me, in which she gives friendship- related advice, answering questions and dilemmas about all things friendship. She was previously features editor at Cosmopolitan Australia. She has appeared on British and Australian radio and TV, including BBC Woman’s Hour, BBC 5 Live, Channel 4 News, ABC News Breakfast, Studio 10 and the Today Show.


Written by Marc Louis-Boyard for Slow Culture.

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