By People Staff
October 11, 1999 12:00 PM

by Jane Wexler and Lauren Cowen

Book of the week

They’re by your side whether you’re having a spat with your husband or a should-I-or-shouldn’t-I debate with yourself over that pricey pair of calfskin mules. Big problems or little, it’s your girlfriends who keep you sane-while you solve them. Each of the 30 profiles in this radiantly written and photographed celebration of friendship—by the authors of 1997’s Daughters & Mothers—is unique, from a fierce pair of Georgia firefighters to actress Jennifer Lopez and childhood pal Arlene Rodriguez.

There’s a lot more to Girlfriends than giggles and gossip. We come face-to-face with bosom buddies like designer Cynthia Rowley, who, while losing her husband to cancer, turns to writer (and hoops partner) Ilene Rosenzweig for late-night doses of unwavering support. Another pair vow to master sign language together after one loses her hearing. And actress Katie Holmes learns that girlfriend power conquers distance: Holmes, who shoots Dawson’s Creek in North Carolina, and childhood chum Meghann Birie, who lives in Ohio, are there for each other no matter what crisis looms. “I’m in Nine West,” Holmes confides to her pal via cell phone, “and I’m looking at the boots, you know the ones…” (Running Press, $27.50)

Bottom Line: Thelma and Louise have nothing on these pals