Review: Ah, the post-grad years. Adult life. The 20’s. It’s supposed to be the time of our lives. Yet for most of us, these are the years where we find ourselves the most lost. College was the bridge to responsibility and independence. Now we’ve crossed that bridge and realized we still don’t know which direction to go from here.
That’s the premise of Girls in White Dresses, about a group of college girlfriends branching out on their own journey to career success and love. Isabella, Lauren, and Mary are the central characters. Isabella is not quite sure where she’s heading professionally, but moves to New York City with Mary anyway and dates a number of not-so-great guys. Mary is goal-oriented and finds early success in her law career, but makes some disastrously bad dating choices. Then there’s Lauren — the girl with the attitude who’s fun and spunky but the most lost of them all.
Each chapter focuses on a different girl, not just Isabella, Mary, and Lauren, but also their other friends and acquaintances from college. Included are anecdotes about their experiences with dating, showers, babies, weddings, sex, engagements, and in-laws. Each girl realizes life doesn’t end up exactly how you plan. But as they inch closer and closer to their 30s, they start to wonder, will we even get close?
Analysis: The overarching plot of Girls in White Dresses is sad. It’s a bunch of girls and their not-so-great lives — particularly love lives. Each chapter I found myself wishing for the one anecdote with a happy ending and a sense of hope. Only a few offered that. That being said, this book is funny.
Many of the anecdotes made me laugh for their humor, humility, and relatability. Author Jennifer Close is able to make the reader laugh through the pain of these young women, and therein lies the positivity that the reader is looking for. Just like in real life, sometimes you have to find the little things that make you smile when you’re going through a tough time.
I read this book along with a number of girlfriends, as part of a book club. We are all in our 20s and could relate to different sections of the book. Some of my friends hated it. Some loved it. That made me believe that your feelings about a book like this will be almost entirely based on your own experiences and what you’re currently going through in life. A 25-year-old who’s single and unemployed or waiting tables might detest this book. But a 25-year-old with a good job and a great boyfriend might love it. Either way it’s worth a read, if for no other reason else than to put the 20-something world in perspective.
MVP: Isabella. She struggles like all the girls, but she is the one the reader gets to know the best. Her story feels most like one of growth. At the end of the book, she takes some big risks, but alas, the reader gets the sense that maybe, just maybe, Isabella is going to be okay.