Welcome to my second Taking It Off...the Shelf feature! I started this because I have a TON of books on my bookshelves that have been neglected over the past few years. You can check out my description post here and the review of my first pick, Beginner's Greek, here. This month I decided to pick Girls in White Dresses to read because I'd had it on my shelf for just over a year. It was a birthday gift from my best friend who's working at a bookstore. She told me to pick some titles and she'd buy them for me as gifts as she gets a discount (the thing I miss the most about working at the bookstore!). I also wanted to read this one because I have Jennifer Close's second novel, The Smart One, to read as well!
Here's the synopsis:
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.Has anyone else read this one? Has anyone avoided it because they think it's just another wedding book? If that sounds like you I am here to tell you that this isn't really a wedding book. Sure, there are weddings throughout the story but, at it's core, Girls in White Dresses is about friendship and how your life changes throughout your twenties. I loved reading about the choices each girl made to better their life, whether with their careers or romantic relationships, and seeing them grow. This was probably my favourite part of the book - maybe it's just because I'm in my mid-twenties too and am having to deal with changes as well.
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 set up of this novel was really interesting. It took me awhile to really get into it and enjoy the way the story was told. Each chapter tells the story of a different girl, mostly focusing on Isabella, Lauren, and Mary, but sometimes a chapter focuses on another "random" friend (someone from college, Isabella's co-worker, etc.). It was kind of reading short stories that all tied together. Like snapshots. There were only a few times I was sort of confused about what point in time we were at but that really didn't matter in the long run.
I found myself laughing multiple times throughout the novel. I could relate to a lot of their situations and I really felt like I was living their lives right along with them. One of my favourite lines was this one:
I bet you're all thinking about the first wedding you went to, aren't you? :)
Overall, I liked Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close a lot more than I thought I would and it's made me even more excited to read her recent(ish) release. I'm also kicking myself because I didn't snag a free ticket when Close was in Toronto earlier this year. Oh well! If you're looking for a great read that will make you laugh and think about your twenties (or wonder what you're going to do when you get there), I definitely recommend this one. I read it in one afternoon/evening and just couldn't get enough of these girls.
Next month I think I'm going to tackle Already Home by Susan Mallery. I bought this one right when it came out, I think, a couple of years ago based on some good reviews from fellow bloggers. Let's hope it's a good read!