Wednesday, October 11, 2006

The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

THE DIRTY GIRLS SOCIAL CLUB is sassy, funny, moving and smart, an unputdownable read. It is the story of six very different women who met at college in Boston and swore to be friends for the rest of their lives.

They call themselves the Dirty Girls Social Club. The only obvious thing they have in common is that they are all professional women and Latin American, but the real thing about them is that their lives tap into universal truths about women and sisterhood. There is Lauren, a journalist, who is used to getting what she wants and kicking ass when she doesn't, except when it comes to men...- Sara, wife of a corporate lawyer, upstanding member of the Jewish community, one of the best interior designers and party givers around, and seriously uptight...- Elizabeth, the beautiful co-host for a TV morning show and former runway model with a secret which will test the bonds of their friendship to the limit...- Rebecca, owner and founder of the most popular Hispanic woman's magazine in the market; nobody works the room like she does...- Amber, a rock singer waiting for her first big break, the spiritual one of the group...And then there is Usnavys, a big gal who is as showy as Libera They all feel perfectly licensed to tell each other what do and how to live their lives, and boy do they ever...

So this was the book that I thought I had lost on the train!!

I first heard of this book over at Book Bitches when they chose it at as Book of the Month in July. I am four months late! What can I say...I have had a lot of other books to read!

So there are 6 friends who met in college and have a strong bond between them. Each year they meet up a couple of times, for drinks, gossip and fun. And yet, despite the fact that they have been friends for years, and would consider themselves close, there are plenty of secrets between them.

In fact in many of the dialogue sequences it would almost seem that they don't necessarily like each other all that much, with all the sniping that goes on. And yet, when they all need each other their bond is strong and they are their for each other.

Each of them have their own secrets and issues. With chapters told from each characters perspective, we get to read their perceptions of each other, and to hear their stories from their own point of view. We see their lives as they make realisations about their own situations, and those of their friends - as they end relationships and marriages, as they fall in love, as their careers take off, as they change, as well kept secrets (both good and bad) are revealed, and as they struggle to define what it means to be Latina.

In many ways this book was an easy one to relate to, and yet in other ways it wasn't! As an Australian with a pretty common background (i.e basically my forefathers were from various corners in the UK), I don't think I have ever had to give much thought to what defines me as an Australian, yet these girls, with their backgrounds in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Columbia amongst other places, spent a lot time discussing what it meant to be Latina, and how to be Latina without losing their individual backgrounds.

Another way that I didn't really relate is that I really don't have a group of friends that I have been friends with for years that I catch up with regularly in the same way. I do have some friends who if I see them, they are always pleased to see me, and if I call them, they are pleased to hear from me, and many of them will say things like "I haven't heard from you in ages", to which my internal response is...what, don't you have dialling fingers? Anyway enough of that.

When I started reading this, I really thought that I wasn't really getting into it, but when it came to Saturday afternoon and it was the ONLY thing that I wanted to read, and then I couldn't find it, I guess it's fair to say that I was hooked. I did enjoy reading it, but I don't know that I will be going out of my way to track down more books by this author, mainly because I already know that there are no others by her in my library. If they happen to get any more by her in, and I notice it, I would read some more by her.

Overall, an enjoyable read that was funny and entertaining, and I am somewhat surprised to say, gave me some things to think about in terms of my own life!

Rating 4/5


  1. Oooo, the friends that can't be bothered to call you themselves. I have a few of those myself. I've been reluctant to call them "friends" for a while now for that very reason.

    A different kind of friend gave me this book a little while ago. I mean to read it sooner than later. Maybe sooner now that I've read your review :)

  2. I hate phones which is why I'm very bad about dialing ;) Although I never say to someone who calls, 'wow, haven't heard from you in ages' because I know I could have called, written, anything.

    I'm not sure I can read books like this for some of the reasons you mention. Like you I don't have a group of friends that I tell everything to. I've never had that and I start to get jealous and wonder if I'm missing something and I must be but I guess it's more me than anyone.

    As a Canadian with a very common background I can say that I relate to being Canadian. I'm proud to be Canadian so if I was in another country or something it might creep out more. It's a way of saying you are unique from another group of people like Americans, British, Australians ;)


  3. I didn't mean that I am not proud to be Australian, but just that I don't have to worry about being Italian-Australian or Greek-Australian...the whole dual nationality thing

  4. Marg have you read Linnet Bird by Linda Holeman (I think?) I just finished it and I thought it was great!