Book Review: Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close

For Isabella, Mary, and Lauren, life is full of bridal showers, wedding showers, and weddings.  It seems as though every girl they know is getting married.  They play their roles as bridesmaids and friends well, but they also struggle with their own lives and what they want.  All three girls struggle with careers, boys who are less than worthy, and the very real fear of never getting exactly what they want–if only they could figure out what it is that they want.

Jennifer Close’s low-key coming-of-age novel about three girls who face their twenties with apprehension, wit, and a lot of alcohol is fairly entertaining fare.  Told from the alternating perspectives of all three girls in loosely connected chapters, Close’s novel is lightly sardonic and often poignant.  It is chick lit for readers who like smart novels.

By far the strongest aspect of Close’s novel are her undeniably believable characters.  The girls in Close’s novel feel like people I know (and maybe even am, sometimes).  Although the characters feel a little indistinguishable at times, there’s no denying that they are authentic.  Close fills her novel with humor, heartache, and a bit of optimism (careful optimism, though).  The events that transpire are illustrative of life in your 20s.

Despite the lightly sardonic tone that Close keeps in her prose, there’s no denying the hint of melancholy that runs throughout the novel.  All of the characters are searching, and though each girl seems to find at least a semblance of happiness at the end, the reader can’t help but feel the uncertainty that the future holds.

Recommended.  I enjoyed this one even though it made me sad in a way that I can’t quite put my finger on.

Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close.  Knopf: 2011.  Library copy.

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