Lily Pebbles: 'The F Word'

Lily Pebbles: 'The F Word'

I have just this minute finished reading Lily Pebbles’ new book ‘The F Word’ (link at the bottom of the post) and I couldn’t wait to write about it. It is a great feeling to read a book and feel that it has truly opened my eyes and helped me better understand the friends in my life as well as my own approach to my relationships with them. This book not only normalises experiences with female friends, but also celebrates our differences and is filled with advice and funny stories along the way.

Lily sets out the aim of her book early on by stating; ‘when you read this book I want the stories and observations to make you appreciative of your friendships no matter how complicated they are’. I can honestly say that ‘The F Word’ has done this for me, and I feel as though the way I will approach new friendships and maintain my current ones will be much improved after reading this book. As I was reading, I made sure to jot down any pieces of useful advice I loved from Lily and I found myself constantly referring back to my notebook to write down more, as on almost every page there was a pocket of advice I wanted to hold onto and not forget.  

Throughout the book, in a very ‘F.R.I.E.N.D.S’ - like fashion, Lily puts forward different types of female friends most of us have once had, currently have or will have at some point in our lives. From ‘the one you’ve known forever’ to ‘the one who keeps you sane’, Lily offers advice of ‘dos’ and ‘don’ts’ when it comes to each type of friend. I found this really useful in both understanding how to deal with different friends in my life, and also in realising that different types of friendships exist – and that is okay.  

 Lily begins her first few chapters of the book by taking a ‘trip down memory lane’ to look at her childhood friendships. The way in which Lily highlighted the importance of forming friendships at a young age, whilst recognising that they can be hard to maintain through life, with changes of pace and circumstance, was really helpful to read.  Lily’s openness and honesty about her friendships is a running factor throughout the book. The chapter following about Girl Power was one of my favourites. It was so inspiring to see that young girls can be so aware of inequalities, and it was a reminder that any difference made – however small or big – can lessen inequalities, more specifically gender inequalities. Whilst speaking about her experiences with this, Lily stated; ‘it was our attitude of saying ‘why not’ when we were told ‘no’ that made us into strong young women’. This is something that is so inspiring to me; the fact that young women grouped together with friends and said, ‘if boys can do it so can we’, shows the real importance of female friendships.

Throughout the chapter ‘How to be a Good Friend 101’, I learnt a lot about looking to myself to improve friendships, rather than immediately looking to what others are doing wrong. Like many, Lily discovered from her Mother the essentials of being a good friend, who taught her ‘to have patience, to be caring and to try be more of a selfless friend’.  It was lovely to hear the basis of how Lily formed friendships growing up, because I think this allows us to understand her more and it made clear that from an early age, she was keen to form positive friendships.

Another of my favourite chapters was ‘Generational Friendships’, where Lily spoke to both her 5-year-old niece and 87-year-old Grandma. This gave a real insight into how our friendships change over the years and through life experiences. Whilst at 5 we may be more interested in having one ‘best friend’, later in life we realise that we go to different friends for different things. It was lovely to hear Lily’s Grandma’s point of view and her advice about learning to accept your friend’s flaws, because it is only fair to accept that everyone has flaws and that doesn’t mean they are necessarily bad people or bad friends; in fact, it can mean quite the opposite.

Throughout the book, Lily draws on her friend’s experiences as well as her own. I found it so interesting to hear Lily’s friend’s different perspectives because everyone has such different experiences with friendships. It again normalised the complexities of the female friendship. The integrated ‘#AskLP’ Q+A style questions within the book also achieved this, and Lily’s advice was extremely helpful.

Further on in the book, Lily offered another great piece of advice that I immediately jotted down in my notebook. She said; ‘knowing what makes you feel good is key to knowing who makes you feel good’. I had never thought about this before but essentially having an idea in your head of what you want from a friendship and what aspect of them make you feel good, can give you a head start when meeting new people, in knowing whether you feel they are the kind of person you want to become good friends with. We can also look to ourselves and ask if we like who we are when we are around that individual.

What I also loved about this book (there is so much I love), is that Lily recognised modern friendships and how the world of social media now moulds the friendships we have. Lily’s experience in using an online friend app had me in fits of laughter. Again, how honest she is with her experiences throughout is what makes this book so personal, and her sharing funny stories is another way of normalising the new and confusing modern world of female friendships. What I did find thought-provoking was her acknowledgement of how ‘blackout dinners’ are very beneficial, but also how funny it is that it has somehow become difficult to stay off our phones when before anyone had them, it was completely normal to have fun without tweeting about it or putting it on snapchat. It made me realise that I want to meet up with friends more when social media isn’t an element of the day.

Another of my favourite chapters was ‘Toxic Friendships’, as I think, having been in a toxic friendship several years ago, you can often be blind to it at the time. This is why I think Lily’s advice of looking to how a friend makes you feel is so important, as to not get into a toxic friendship. As well as this, I liked her reference to friendship as a weighing scale, in that they need to be equal - you need to get what you give from a friendship.

I would recommend this book to all females out there, of all ages. I feel as though I have learnt so much and Lily’s honesty and funny anecdotes throughout make it feel as if you are literally speaking to a friend. Lily concludes the book by stating ‘I hope it’s made you appreciate the beauty and complexity of the bonds you hold with the women around you’ and makes clear that the key to a good friendship is ‘adapting, being flexible and putting in the work’. I can safely say that I have a better appreciation for my female friends and reading this book will help me personally with my approach to them; in both what I am going to put in and what I need to get out of female friendships.

Thank you, Lily, for opening my eyes to the real world of female friendships and making me see that my experiences are normal and even if bad, ultimately can be positive by my ability to learn from them. I absolutely love this book and it is for sure going to hold its place on any coffee table or bedside stand I have in the future . I will for sure refer back to this book at many times in my life and for that reason I would encourage that all women grab a cup of tea, sit down with a notebook and read ‘The F Word’ by Lily Pebbles.

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