For years Bob Greene was a regular columnist for the Chicago Tribune his columns evoked a common Midwestern everyman feel to them. He wrote about the things people cared about and he wrote those things from the heart.
And You Know You Should Be Glad is a natural extension of his columns-- the biography of a friendship, Greene's lifelong friendship with Jack Roth. But in Greene's friendship with Jack we're given a journey of exploration into our own friendships. We as readers can understand the emotional journey of the friendship as most of us have had or still have that friend. The one with whom you don't need to tell how you feel because he already knows. That friend who instinctively knows when to call you without being asked and that friend whom you would drop everything for if you were ever called upon to do so.
Greene was asked to do just that when called by another in his fabulous fivesome of Allen, Chuck, Dan, and Jack (and of course Bob Greene himself):
"Give me a call," the voice continued. "It's about Jack. He's a little ill, and I wanted to explain it to you." Chuck had never couched a sentence in words like that in our lives.
With a simple phone call the emotional journey begins. As someone who believes life is about the journey rather than the destination. This book exemplifies that very spirit. The book is a journey. In the end, we all know the destination. But Greene does an excellent job of making this book not so much about that destination but about the journey of friendship he took with Allen, Chuck, Dan, and Jack.
We feel those bonds of friendship with his friends because many of us have felt those very same bonds with friends of our own. We come to know and enjoy the inside jokes and the "you had to be there" style of stories of the adventures he and his friends went on together in this long journey called life.
In the end this book isn't just the biography of a friendship, it's a tribute to good friendships everywhere. It works so well because, much like with Greene's old Tribune columns, it strikes a chord with all of us.