The Dirty Girls Social Club

Valdes-Rodriguez, Alisa

Published by Arrow Books Ltd
ISBN 10: 009945324X / ISBN 13: 9780099453246
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Synopsis: The Dirty Girls Social Club was formed by six very different Latina women who met at college in Boston and swore they'd be friends for the rest of their lives. They all feel perfectly licensed to tell each other what to do and how to live their lives, and boy do they ever! Bold, funny, moving and smart, The Dirty Girls Social Club is a life-affirming read with all the glamour, gusto, humour and candour you'd expect from your best girlfriends.

Review: 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 twenties, 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 L.A.

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, 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

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Title: The Dirty Girls Social Club
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Good

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Valdes-Rodriguez, Alisa
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