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New memoir tells the story of "fierce female friendship" over 20 years

Jul 14, 2015

Credit Courtesy of the author

The power of friendship. It cuts through time and distance. The kind of friendship where, even if you haven't seen each other for a long stretch of time, you pick right up as if no time had passed. The kind of friendship that rides through life's ups and downs.

That's the friendship story that's told by Michigan writer Mardi Jo Link in her latest book The Drummond Girls: A Story of Fierce Friendship Beyond Time and Chance.

We last talked with Link about her memoir Bootstrapper, which won a Michigan Notable Book Award, as the Great Lakes, Great Reads Booksellers' Choice Award.

Link’s new memoir recounts twenty years of friendship formed by yearly trips to Drummond Island in the Upper Peninsula. The group trips started with eight women, and expanded to twelve as the years passed.

The group of women is described by Link as coming from all different backgrounds, but sharing in common the Northern Michigan tavern where they met as waitresses, customers and even the owner’s wife.

When Link was invited to her first trip she says her excitement stopped her from asking any questions about the plans. Soon enough, she discovered they weren’t going to be staying in a cabin or beautiful hotel, but instead, campers parked on a pad of gravel in a fishing camp.

But she says commiserating about the trailers brought them together, and they couldn’t afford anything nicer anyway.

After publishing her first memoir, Link decided to tell the story of their friendship when the group gave her encouragement to write about their time together.

"Without their permission or suggestion I never would have written the story. I'm humbled by how much they trust me to tell our tale,” she says.

Choosing the island for their trips also greatly influenced their experiences.

Link describes the place as, “physically so beautiful and so wild still that it allowed us, maybe, to connect with the wild part that's still inside of us.”

The story’s focus on female friendship also showcases how to support other women. Link recounts a time in high school when she was rejected by a female friend group, causing her to be more guarded.

"A lot of that mean girl stuff I think is born from insecurity and the more we raise secure girls, the less that that's going to happen,” Link says, advocating for girls to be raised as strong, confident, and able to make their own decisions.