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Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

As I mentioned before, I read two good books while on vacation.  The first of these books was called Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close.  Set mainly in New York City, Girls in White Dresses is told through the points of view of many narrators, the three main ones being the characters Isabella, Mary and Lauren.  All of the chapters tie in together and read like individual short stories.

Itty bitty living space, I feel your pain Genie!

In checking out some of the reviews posted on Good Reads, it appears that a lot of people either hated this book, or really enjoyed it.  I fell into the latter category.  As a twenty-something living in New York myself, I found that I could relate to a lot of what the individual characters were going through.  Maybe not to the extent of those occurrences in the book, however there were more than a few passages where I laughed to myself and thought “wow, I know exactly what they’re talking about.”  Every time one of the girls mentioned their small New York apartments I could only nod my head in agreement and think “I feel your pain.”

One particular instance in the book that made me laugh with familiarity was in the chapter entitled “Jesus is Coming.”  In this chapter, the character Isabella can’t shake the feeling that things just aren’t right.  Only further proving her off feeling, she discovers a pair of underwear that isn’t hers in her laundry.  As a bit of background information for those who don’t live in New York City, a lot of people have their laundry done for them at their local dry cleaner.  My apartment building actually has laundry machines in the basement (a rarity for pre-war walk-ups) but I’ve come to realize that actually getting my laundry sent out to get cleaned is around the same price as using tons of quarters to do it myself.  Anyway, getting back to the story, mixed in with her clean clothes Isabella discovers a “large, flesh-colored silky pair of underwear with a rose on the waistband.” She describes the feeling as leaving her “uneasy, the thought that people’s personals could get mixed up so easily – that someone else’s underwear could find its way into her drawers.”  Funny enough, almost the exact same thing happened to my roommate when she decided to use the new dry cleaner that opened on our street to do her wash and fold.  Except instead of a large silky pair of women’s underwear she discovered a very, VERY tiny pair of men’s briefs.  The only part not tiny about the pair of briefs was that area that well, you know, made it obvious the underwear was made for men and not women.  It was a weird feeling to think that somewhere out there, probably in a few block radius, some very petite man was missing his underwear.  Needless to say, we have not returned back to the same place for our laundry.

Because the novel reads more as short stories, I found this to be a quick read.  It is also because it reads more as short stories, that I think so people might have an issue or two with the book.  The chapters jump around without following a specific story line and so you don’t get a huge amount of personal attachment to the characters or a lot of development.  Surprisingly, this didn’t bother me at all.  I found it light while at the same time not the stereotypical fluff book.

If you’ve read the book please let me know what category you fit into: the lover or the hater of Girls in White Dresses.