Meredith asks:

Ooh I have a question! You and your sister Kate seem very close–is she your best friend aside from Mr. Book?

You know, if you’d told me when I was in grade school that one day Kate and I would be best friends—well, I don’t think either one of us would have believed it. She likes to tell me the story of how she told all of her middle-school friends that I was a lesbian . . . believing that “lesbian” meant “angry female” and nothing more. (Her friends were a lot more interested in this information than seemed reasonable to her!) And it’s true: she was a preppy little cutie and I was a strange and bitter teenage girl. We had pretty different experiences of childhood, and mine left me wearing black and writing truly hideous poetry; Kate was a cheerleader. My mother has always described me as either the smart one or the crazy one—Kate is always, but always, the responsible one. And it’s true; the youngest girl, she married first and is the only one to own her own home. She’s in graduate school, she has a dog, and she’s an absolute brick.

But that leaves a lot out: Kate is hilarious. She’s a great cook, and generous to a fault. She loves her godson Joey like crazy, and she’s a rare kind of thoughtful.

I’m not Kate’s best friend, I don’t think; she’s more social than I am by a mile, and has a pretty good set of roots where she is. And she’s a good friend to even what I think of as her crappy friends.