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Sunday, November 13, 2011

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close
Published by Alfred A. Knopf ISBN 978-0307596857
Hardcover, $24.95

The characters in Girls in White Dresses are women on the verge of marriage. We meet Lauren, Mary and Isabella at college, and follow them through various vignettes as they meet and date guys- some good, some bad- on their way to adulthood and eventually, marriage and motherhood.

Their stories are told in alternating chapters, snapshots of their lives. Mary is a serious law student who, for some reason unbeknownst to her friends, only dates ugly guys. She graduates and works many hours at her job, crushing on her boss. 

Isabella is the baby of her family, looking for a job in publishing and a good guy to love. She has several semiserious relationships, but none that seem to give her what she wants. Is it her?

Lauren graduates from college, moves to New York, and ends up waitressing at a lousy restaurant, dating a scuzzy bartender. "This is not what Lauren went to college for. This was not where she was supposed to be. These were not the kind of people she was supposed to be around."

This book can be a bit of a downer. We see all of these women at their most vulnerable, emotional time in their 20s, when they are out in the cold world, trying to find a career, trying to find love. They work at lousy jobs, have tiny city apartments, and kiss a lot of frogs looking for a prince. They see their friends getting married, (one hilarious chapter deals with the many, many bridal showers they have to attend as bridesmaids for one of their friend's weddings) getting great jobs, moving to the suburbs, having children, and their journey to the same life seems fraught with trouble. One thing that sustains them is their friendship with each other.

At times there seemed to be too many extraneous characters, but when the author focused on her main characters, I felt compelled to keep turning the pages. Close really nails the confusion of young women, and most women who read this will identify with their lives, even if their 20s are in the rear view mirror.

rating 4 of 5 stars


  1. I picked this book up at BEA but haven't gotten to it yet. I think I could really relate to the chapter on the many bridal showers!

  2. I listened to this and didn't love it as much as everyone else has. I didn't hate it, but had some trouble relating to the young women in the story - maybe I'm too far removed from my 20's.

  3. Colleen- you will enjoy that chapter!
    Kathy- I didn't really relate to them either, but I did find their stories interesting.