The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Whatever

2 Jul


When I was in high school, The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants movie came out, and wouldn’t you know it, my best friends and I decided to assign ourselves Sisterhood characters.

The process was rather easy.  I was clearly Tibby, the hippie activist who went to socialist day camp and overthought the meaning of life on a consistent basis.


My friends quickly fell into their own categories and girls–the free spirit, the Type-A, the one who cares a bit too much–and soon these Sisterhood assignments of ours became one of the hallmarks of our friendship.

We signed off our notes and emails as “Tibby,” “Lena,” “Carmen,” and “Bridget.” We started our own Sisterhood of sorts, and we even went as far as creating a traveling email with tailor-made rules.

Please note rules #3, #14 and #20 of our Sisterhood, the Sisterhood of the Chi Pi sorority:

3. Do not text big news.

14. Tweezing is not a reasonable response to duress or relief of stress. A Chi Pi does not tweeze under pressure.

20. Never buy a lotion that boasts of a yogurt base.

Every so often I get really excited about a new book idea of mine, “I’m going to write about a group of girl friends in high school and how they stick together no matter what.  Ooh, you know what would be fun?  If they had a token of their friendship or something that they swap every few weeks over the summer as they come of age!”

…and then I realize that Ann Brashares got there first.

I just really love the Sisterhood.

I really, really do.

In The Great Gatsby Nick Carraway says everybody suspects himself of having at least one of the cardinal virtues, and while I know it’s not technically a cardinal virtue, if I suspect myself of being good at anything good it’s friendship.

I believe in the power of female friendship.


This summer I got the chance to see Ann Brashares speak at the LA Times Festival of Books and it was entirely thrilling.

Ann is exactly what you’d expect her to be.  She’s gorgeous and thoughtful and one of those people who seems to live and speak and act purposefully.

I never live purposefully.  I’m too impulsive and manic and moody for all of that.  And so when I’m around someone who seems so thoughtful I become even more manic, “What’s your secret!  Tell me everything!  I WILL BE PURPOSEFUL TIMES A MILLION NACHOS RIGHT NOW.”


I want to say by watching Ann that she’s a Lena who thinks she’s a Carmen.

But I would need more time to really know.

In the panel, Ann was promoting her new book, but when the audience got to ask questions, all anyone wanted to talk about was the Sisterhood.

Ann said that she never really wanted to say goodbye to the girls so gave herself a deadline and told herself if she was still thinking about the Sisterhood at that point she could write one final novel.

When the deadline came she still couldn’t forget about the girls, and so she wrote Sisterhood Everlasting.

Yesterday I picked it up.

It’s funny, in this book, the girls are 29, which is a bit older than my friends and I are, but we’re still going through a lot of the same things.  That just adulthood.  Those big decisions.

Trying to maintain our important friendships while in different cities, with different lives, with a different everything.

It hit close to home.

And so I did what I’ve always done when it comes to these fictional girls and my life.

I sent my own Sisterhood an email.

I started it off with–

In shocking news, Tibby (I) dies (die) 10 years into the Sisterhood franchise. 

I then outlined what each character ends up doing in the book, how it relates to our own accomplishments and failures, and what Ann Brashares knew about my life before I did.

(Spoiler: Tibby went to film school.

She then moved to Australia because that’s what we Tibbys want to do.


She ended up with the nerdy, neurotic boy who loved her to the ends of the earth.

It’s like,

Why wasn’t I listening to Ann sooner?

How much time and heartbreak could I have saved myself?

How many unnecessary degrees could I have avoided?)

I signed my email “Tibs” and then went back to work, knowing full well it may be days before I get a response.

After all,

We’re trying to maintain our important friendships while in different cities, with different lives, with a different everything.

We’re a grown-up sisterhood now.

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6 Responses to “The Sisterhood Of The Traveling Whatever”

  1. Caroline L. July 3, 2014 at 5:13 am #

    It’s funny that anytime there’s a prime example of female group friendship out there, girls tend to like to assign each other characters. Sisterhood, Sex and the City… who hasn’t done it?

    I’m like you – I pride myself in being really good at my female friendships, but I keep the number low. I love few, but I love them dearly and furiously.

    Oh, and Ann Brashares. Genius of a woman, she is. You should definitely read My Name Is Memory if you get the chance to – very different from Sisterhood, but one of my favorite books to this day. Still hoping for a sequel, yeeeeeeeears after I first read it!

  2. Macy July 3, 2014 at 8:31 am #

    I love the Sisterhood books and movies. Since reading them I have decided that I need to go to Greece and relive their sweet friendships, hopefully one day. I have always been nervous about reading Sisterhood Everlasting, but I think I will now (I skipped over your spoilers 😀 )

  3. Autumn July 7, 2014 at 9:34 am #

    I just loved these books, and think it’s great that they made an impression on so many females in our “generation.” I hear rumors of a second movie…

  4. Lauren July 7, 2014 at 2:42 pm #

    So I had no idea that there was a fifth sisterhood book so I am obviously reading it right now instead of working and when you said that tibby died I didn’t believe you and I’m like “oh she is just on crack. Jill is saying crazy things” but oh my gosh she is dead! And now my heart is broken and I don’t know how to go on.

    • jillianlorraine July 7, 2014 at 11:12 pm #

      Know that I really want to insert three crying face emoticons here. When I read Tibby died I thought it was surely a mistake and I kept waiting for the, “Oh never mind!”

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