Saturday, 24 November 2012

{Review} Girls In White Dresses by Jennifer Close

294 pages
Published 2011 by Knopf

Wickedly hilarious and utterly recognizable, Girls in White Dresses tells the story of three women grappling with heartbreak and career change, family pressure and new love—all while suffering through an endless round of weddings and bridal showers.

Isabella, Mary, and Lauren feel like everyone they know is getting married. On Sunday after Sunday, at bridal shower after bridal shower, they coo over toasters, collect ribbons and wrapping paper, eat minuscule sandwiches and doll-sized cakes. They wear pastel dresses and drink champagne by the case, but amid the celebration these women have their own lives to contend with: Isabella is working at a mailing-list company, dizzy with the mixed signals of a boss who claims she’s on a diet but has Isabella file all morning if she forgets to bring her a chocolate muffin. Mary thinks she might cry with happiness when she finally meets a nice guy who loves his mother, only to realize he’ll never love Mary quite as much. And Lauren, a waitress at a Midtown bar, swears up and down she won’t fall for the sleazy bartender—a promise that his dirty blond curls and perfect vodka sodas make hard to keep. 

With a wry sense of humor, Jennifer Close brings us through those thrilling, bewildering, what-on-earth-am-I-going-to-do-with-my-life years of early adulthood. These are the years when everyone else seems to have a plan, a great job, and an appropriate boyfriend, while Isabella has a blind date with a gay man, Mary has a crush on her boss, and Lauren has a goldfish named Willard. Through boozy family holidays and disastrous ski vacations, relationships lost to politics and relationships found in pet stores, Girls in White Dresses pulls us deep inside the circle of these friends, perfectly capturing the wild frustrations and soaring joys of modern life.

The other day, I was starving.  Starving starving.  Cranky starving.  Close to home, but too lazy to want to cook anything when I got there.  I stopped to gas up my car, and as I stood in line at the 7-11 to pay, debating between buying a sandwich from my favourite neighbourhood cafe and wondering if the new People magazine was out yet, I was shoved from behind and fell forward, catching myself just before I crashed into the cheap roller food counter.

Ding dong.  Problem solved.  Before I knew it, I was buying a plethora of taquitos, eating one before I even got back inside my car.   I ate another during the three block trip home.  And I ate two more after I finally got inside.

It seemed like a brilliant idea at the time, but let me tell you - taquitos from a gas station may look like a good idea, but in the long run?  Worst idea ever.  Given how many horrible hangovers I've had in my life that made me so sick I'll never, ever forget them (Mike's Hard Lemonade in ninth grade, I'm looking at you), I can easily say the hour post-devouring of four gas station taquitos belongs in the same category.

This book is exactly like that.  

Girls In White Dress by Jennifer Close was on my TBR pile for a long time.  Luckily (or so I thought at the time), it was picked for book club.  Yay!  I curled up in my favourite chair, poured myself a glass of water (you know the taquitos made me sick when three days later I'm still only wanting water), and started reading.

It was then that I realized this book was a horrible joke.  I barely finished it, bribing myself to start each new chapter.  The characters, the many many vapid characters, were one dimensional, confusing, and each was barely discernible from the next random one thrown at you half a paragraph later.  The "story", and I use that word loosely, jumped all over the place, literally one paragraph to the next.   I felt confused all the time, much like I did on the first day of high school.  What the fuck just happened?  Who was that?  Who's this chick?  Where are they now?   WHAT'S GOING ON? 

Just when I was about to finally allow myself to give up, it ended.  Just like that.  Like a happy ending without the happy.  Or the ending.  

One thing I will say - there were some funny lines scattered throughout the book.   However, if all it takes to get a book deal is a few great one liners surrounded by 294 pages of vapidness, I should shortly be rolling in the dough instead of eating gas station meals.

Bottom line?  Worst book I've read in 2012.  Maybe even in the past two years.  But more importantly, worse than gas station taquitos.  And that, my friends, says more than anything.

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