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Monday, September 1, 2014

September Read of the Month: Girls In White Dresses- Jennifer Close

Title: Girls In White Dresses
Author: Jennifer Close
Publisher/Year: Vintage Books/2011
Genre: Adult Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
Format:  Paperback

Thing 2's In-Depth Review

The Juicy Stuff:
The book follows a group of girls from their early to late twenties allowing the reader to experience the highs, the lows, and the rock bottoms that come along with this whole "growing up" phase. This book is a perfect example of the daily, monotonous, sometimes depressing facts that a young educated adult has to face. From relationships, to jobs, to apartments, and bridal showers, it covers everything that seems to make up a vast majority of a young adults twenties.

How It Made Me Feel:
At some points I was laughing, others I was having major empathy problems. There are TONS of mixed reviews on the internet which made me skeptical as to how I would like it. My overall lasting impression is that it nails my experience of being in my early twenties.  I've read so many remarks about the alcohol use, guess what, sometimes you need a good cry and a box of wine to get over something. I am by no means condoning alcohol/any substance as a coping mechanism, I'm just pointing out that it is a part of the twenty-something's life. This is NOT a how-to guide on dealing with life (no worries there will be one to come) but rather a reflection on how Close's characters deal with this transition period, which is freakishly close to mine and some good friends of mine.

What I Thought Worked:
Using the idea of short stories to tie the novel together was confusing at first but it allowed Close to cover a ten year span of multiple characters to get different perspectives of a young female's twenties.

What I Thought Didn't Work:
Not knowing there would be SO many characters. It is such a fast read that at first I wasn't dedicating names to memory...keep the names straight, it will save you confusion in the long run. It might seem like a horrible chore but it was refreshing to have so many view points in one book.


Why It Got That Rating: I really liked this book for this particular time in my life. I am also going to re-visit it most likely on the eve of my 30th birthday just for grins and giggles. (Hopefully then it will be more comical than an empathetic roller coaster.)

Who Would I Recommend To: Girlfriends just out of college/going through a breakup/that I care about. I would NOT recommend it to anyone to far away from this decade. I look forward to aging gracefully but I think that most of the negative reviews were from women who were too out of touch with this trying time. I know I won't enjoy it when I have a house and a husband and married friends. It is definitely a young adult book.

Last Impressions/Remarks: It made me feel like I wasn't crazy/feeling like I was the only one experiencing these things. I thought I missed some info session on how to become adult. Know I know I'm not the only one fumbling. 

Thing 1's Shorter Review

Upon looking at the multitude of book reviews online, I wasn't sure how to procede.  Should I read it? Should I believe the negative reviews? Generally, I don't listen to the reviews posted online, in fact, I hardly ever read them.  Wanting instead to rely on my gut feeling about the summary I've read on the back. I was quite glad I did in fact, read the book.  Jennifer Close quite clearly captures the life, expericences, and times of young women in their 20's.  Not all women, mind you, but I'm sure many of you will recognize and sympathize with one, if not several, of Close's characters.  The vast amount of jumping around that happens in the book was confusing at first, but I found it wasn't necessary for me to follow the characters in the book to still enjoy and relate to the story.   It was refreshing to read a story that dealt with things that actually happen in a 20 something girl's life and agree with how they reacted.  Sure, there is quite a bit of alcohol, relationships, and seemingly 'uncaring' moments, but I can't even begin to talk about how true some of it is!  I don't know that it is a book I would buy or even read more than once more, but I am very glad I read it to begin with.  I would recommend it to any woman who is currently in their 20's and possibly going through, or have gone through, some particularly rough times.  I hope you'll find at least one friend within the pages. :)

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