In this case, the friends we're hanging out with are characters in Dana Johnson's brilliant short story collection, Break Any Woman Down. The short story genre is usually not my thing, mainly because I can't seem to get it right in my own writing, but Dana Johnson's collection makes me love short stories more than ever.
Tackling characters of several ethnicities, classes, and genders, Dana Johnson can't help but make you fall in love with the stories of the little black girl with her white boy crush in the suburbs, the stripper and the porno star star-crossed relationship, the man who feels less than for wanting a woman who is with another guy, the lonely bar patron, and the Persian sisters having tea and talking.
What is so cool about the collection is that Dana Johnson paints a picture of the new U.S. A place where your friends or lovers can be of any ethnic background, immigrant status, sexual orientation, or money status... and it just is. No questions about why these people can't be in your life. They just are.
And, while you're getting acquainted or re-acquainted with friends in Break Any Woman Down, you'll be comforted to know that Dana Johnson is the only black woman to EVER win the Flannery O'Connor Award for short fiction. A great accomplishment. A great collection. Take a look. Here's one review.
Learned about her from Tayari Jones a few years back. Maybe you can get acquainted this weekend.