There is already much that has been said about it, but I'll add my two cents anyhow. Even though a most trusted source highly recommended it, I still thought it looked like an advanced version of chick lit. And in the way that it centers on a group of women and their friendship, I suppose is...sort of.
But here, the setting is the late 60s/early 70s and the characters begin by meeting in a park, eventually forming a writing group. Not only do they encourage one another, but are also brutally honest. Often, in books about women's friendships they gloss over the hard and the ugly parts. That doesn't happen much here. Sure, each woman is a stereotype in some way - the southern one, the athletic one, the childless one...but it is written in a way that doesn't seem cliche. And it tackles deeper issues with elegance.
Totally readable, very enjoyable, and a great picture of how women at their best (and worst) can survive decades of friendship.
I'm all over the place as far as a rating. My initial, close the book rating was a high 4.5, rounded to a 5. With the passage of time, I'm not finding it lingering in my mind...so I'm dropping to a 4. Still high enough to recommend you add to the reading list, okay?