ISBN is

978-0-312-31382-1 / 9780312313821

The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel

by

Publisher:St. Martin's Griffin

Edition:Softcover

Language:English

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About the book:

The Dirty Girls Social Club closely resembles Terry McMillan's Waiting to Exhale: a handful of young women seek real love and job satisfaction. Unlike McMillan, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez has completely thrown out any literary pretensions whatsoever, and that's not necessarily a bad thing. Dirty Girls is a fun, easy, ultimately charming read, not least because the girls themselves are so appealing.

Six Latina women become fast friends at Boston University and thereafter meet as a group every few months. Now in their late 20s, they're each on the cusp of the life they want. The novel is narrated in turn by each woman. Feisty Lauren has a column at the Boston Globe, but can't help falling for losers; ghetto-elegant Usnavys is trying to find a man to match her own earning power and expensive tastes; uptight Rebecca is a successful magazine publisher and an unsuccessful wife; beautiful TV anchor Elizabeth has a secret; Sara leads a Martha-Stewart-perfect life as a homemaker; and Amber is a hopeful rock musician in LA.

The novel works because Valdes-Rodriguez has compassion for her characters; each is faulted, but none is culpable. She also has an eye for the telling detail, as when Rebecca tries to befriend her white husband's stuffy family: "His sister took step classes with me and we shopped for clothes together on Newbury Street and went to the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum one afternoon with Au Bon Pain sandwiches in our handbags." Something about those sandwiches makes the whole enterprise seem more poignant.

On the down side, Valdes-Rodriguez is so eager to make things work out for her ladies that her writing sometimes beggars belief. Men actually say things like "Swear to me you're happily married and I'll stop pursuing you". Yes, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez is, in fact, the Latina Terry McMillan. That is, if McMillan were a slighty guiltier pleasure. --Claire Dederer, Amazon.com

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