This was suggested by one of the book club members to read this year, so I held off reading it. It took me a while to get into the story, but once I did I couldn't put it down. Barbara is creepier in the book. There was one part before she and Sheba became friends that made me shake my head. It was after Barbara had discovered Sheba's friendship with Sue (pg 36)
"My mistake with Jennifer had been to attribute to her an intelligence that had never really existed. For the last six weeks, I realized, I had been making the same mistake with Sheba. Thank god she had revealed her truecolours at this juncture, before I had invested any more of my feelings! Once again, I told myself, I had made an error of judgement. Sheba was not my soul mate. Not my kindred spirit. She wasn't, in fact, my sort at all."
Barbara, at this point, had barely spent any time with Sheba to be able to pass any sort of judgement on her. Sheba would have been unaware that Barbara had event thought that they might be soul-mates. It's like Barbara had imagined this whole friendship, that the other person wasn't even aware of. This also struck me when Sheba and her family went to France for the summer. Barbara kept ringing the house and leaving messages, expecting Sheba to call. I don't think it would have occured to Sheba that their friendship was that sort of friendship, which is the point of the book really.
It's about how Barbara creates the type of friendship she has with Sheba in her head, but Sheba isn't aware of it. Not until she reads the manuscript.
When we discussed it in book club, I suddenly thought that Barbara couldn't share her friends with anyone. If someone was her friend, then they couldn't be shared with anyone else. That's why her friendship with Jennifer broke down when Jennifer got a boyfriend. It's why Barbara was upset when Sheba became friends with Sue first. In the end Barbara gets what she wants when Sheba's life falls apart and she is the only one there to look after her.
I'm including this in the Bibliophilic Challenge, because Barbara is writing this story as a book to be published.