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Girls in White Dresses Kindle Edition

3.1 out of 5 stars 552 customer reviews

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Length: 306 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled

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Editorial Reviews Review

J. Courtney Sullivan Reviews Girls in White Dresses

J. Courtney Sullivan is the author of two New York Times bestselling novels, Maine and Commencement. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times Book Review, The Wall Street Journal, The Chicago Tribune, and New York magazine, among others. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Like a lot of women in America, I was awake at 4 a.m. on April 29th. But unlike the rest, I wasn’t waiting to see Kate Middleton walk down the aisle. I was reading Girls in White Dresses.

This hilarious, pitch-perfect debut more or less took over my life for three glorious days. I cancelled dinners, ignored deadlines and went without sleep, all because I could not stop reading it.

The author introduces an unforgettable cast of characters who navigate post-college life in the city. I laughed a lot while reading this novel, nodded knowingly, and occasionally wondered if Jennifer Close had been secretly reading my emails for the past ten years.

Any woman who has been a twenty-something can relate: There are first jobs (“Isabella knew [her boss] thought the Greek salad was super healthy, and for that she pitied him.”) First homes (“They hung mirrors on the walls to make the apartment seem bigger.”) First weddings (“You never want to be the first one of your friends to get married. If you are, just resign yourself to the fact that your wedding will be a sh-t show.”)

With wit and wisdom, Close captures every little detail of New York life in one’s twenties; that decade that so often begins with late nights out and ill-advised infatuations, yet somehow ends with bridal showers and babies and mothers-in-law named Button. Close leads her characters from the days of living together in cramped apartments straight through to a time when life has gotten hectic, obligations have increased, and a stolen weekend away at a beach house is the only bonding time they get.

Through it all--through drunken nights and hungover mornings, evil bosses, cancelled engagements, and that time Mary lost her mind and named her newborn baby Gertrude for three days--their friendships remain a constant.

Girls in White Dresses is reminiscent of Melissa Bank’s The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, but at the same time it’s a total original, perfectly reflecting the events of recent years: One character loses her boyfriend to a charismatic political candidate, campaigning on hope and change. Another gets married the same weekend that the King of Pop dies, and her wedding turns into a Michael Jackson tribute concert.

Only once in a very blue moon does a book captivate me as much as this one did. Read it immediately and prepare to be up all night.


"What a delight! The young women in this hugely appealing book are charming, funny, rueful, poignant—just like their creator, in other words, one of the freshest and most appealing new voices in fiction. I can’t wait for more work from Jennifer Close." —Ann Packer, bestselling author of The Dive from Clausen’s Pier and Swim Back to Me
"These Girls are smart, funny and extremely engaging. You will adore them and their poignant--and often hilarious--romantic yearnings." —Danielle Ganek, author of The Summer We Read Gatsby

"The only way to express my love for Girls in White Dresses by Jennifer Close is to tell you that this is the one book that I will be recommending over and over again to all of my friends. I laughed, I cried, I nodded knowingly as the characters waded their way through the hits and misses of their twenties and thirties. I can't remember the last time I loved a book as much as this one." —Allison Winn Scotch, New York Times bestselling author of The One That I Want and Time of My Life

"Girls In White Dresses is a dark, funny, intimate romp through boyfriends, first apartments, and great friendships--but beneath the surface lurks the jealousy, disappointment, and love that didn’t quite end up the way you thought it would. Jennifer Close's brilliant, deadpan humor made me laugh so hard my own roommate thought I was nuts." —Margot Berwin, author of Hothouse Flower

"If Elizabeth Bennet were post-collegiate, hungover, lovelorn and living on the Upper West Side, she would definitely be rooming with the Girls in White Dresses. This debut is hilarious, warm-hearted and wise, and I couldn't put it down." —Holly LeCraw, author of The Swimming Pool

"Girls in White Dresses is about a group of smart, funny, unapologetically grouchy, always-hungover fem...

Product Details

  • File Size: 3820 KB
  • Print Length: 306 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (August 9, 2011)
  • Publication Date: August 9, 2011
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004J4WKYW
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,919 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Girls in White Dresses" follows a group of friends through their "freshman year of life" and beyond, to borrow a phrase from J. Courtney Sullivan's "Commencement." I don't mean to draw unnecessary parallels, especially since Sullivan wrote the featured editorial review on this novel, but I can't help but compare the two - especially because Sullivan's debut novel is so much stronger.

Some of the situations are relatable and touching (an ill-advised ski trip with a new boyfriend and his friends, a tipsy lunch with a despised college acquaintance), but the characters are so bland and forgettable that I repeatedly found myself wondering "Wait, which one is Lauren?" The women are so interchangeable that it was hard for me to feel particularly invested in any one story/career/relationship.

Given the press this novel has received, I guess I was expecting a much more compelling novel.
2 Comments 75 of 86 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
After reading the Amazon review I couldn't wait to read this book. I eagerly awaited it to hit the shelves so I could purchase it on my kindle. It started out okay, I could see some of my old friendships in a few of these characters. But the book just drug on and on and on.... I kept waiting for something really exciting to happen but it never did. I believe the Amazon reviewer said she couldn't put the book down and was awake until 4am. Really?! Because I think the only reason to be awake at 4 am reading this book, is if the book was actually written about you. Seriously, this book needs more substance. I would not recommend this book to my friends, but if you are really set on reading it go check it out from the library for free.
7 Comments 85 of 100 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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By kate108 on January 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
This book consists of short choppy paragraphs that do not even flow from one paragraph to the next. It feels like a little kid wrote this. Isabelle moved to NY. She met a boy. They went to dinner. Etc... There is no depth or subtance to the characters. SAVE YOUR MONEY!!
Comment 19 of 21 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I selected this based on the blurb, which made it sound like a fun and sarcastic 20-something gal tale. I went in expecting a "Sex and the City" sort of vibe, but instead found a boring, badly paced and almost incomprehensibly scattered book.

The "story," and I use the term loosely, of a rather random group of college friends, is told in brief vignettes that jump in and out of the timeline to share their dating disasters, drunken escapades, sexual indiscretions and career catastrophes. The gist seemed to be that these girls, who you never really understand how or why, or even really if, they are friends, are sad-sack slackers with little in their life besides booze and, occasionally, each other.

I say "occasionally" because the peripheral characters, including supposedly pivotal boyfriends, come and go so randomly as to be even less than sketches. I only put the book down a few minutes ago and I don't think I can name a single one. Even the main characters are so poorly drawn you not only don't care about them, I couldn't even recall their main details (where they live, what they do, who they care about) or relationship to one another halfway through the novel.

Basically the book read like a co-workers' endless anecdote about a group of people you don't know, don't care about and will never meet. "So, I was at my cousin Stacy's wedding and Stacy's best friend, Nancy, has been dating this guy Phil for three years, but he's a real jerk and Phil's friend Ellen was there and she'd just broken up with her boyfriend Ben. Do you remember I went to school with Ben? Well, Ben and Stacy used to date and Ellen was jealous and Nancy heard Ben tell Phil that ...
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5 Comments 15 of 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
The friendships between several of the characters sounded true to life...sarcastic but loving, snarky but truthful...and that was good to read. It is the way a lot of women actually relate to their good friends. But, I got tired of, and then offended by, the author's use of the terms "retard" and "retarded" to describe behaviour that is being made fun of and by the author's obvious disdain for anyone that could be overweight. These were cheap shots, and had nothing to do with the plot (such as it is). There really is no "plot" and nothing of climactic import happens to these characters or, if it does, is mentioned briefly and life for the characters just moves along, in a somewhat boring fashion for all of them. The ending is the same way...nothing really truly settled for any one character, it just ends. All of these women just always seem vaguely dissatisifed and you are always left with the impression that they are all either settling or questioning themselves about "is this all there is?"
10 Comments 87 of 112 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
So this is what a fine education at Boston College and an MFA from the New School produces: a gifted writer who willingly writes a novel about young female drunks who vomit their way through weddings and relationships with witless, wholly useless men. I have encountered more sympathetic characters in Bukowski novels and I have yet to meet a woman who would not tell the male characters in this book to get schtupped at their nearest possible convenience.

I am genuinely mystified by the stayed-up-all-night rave reviews from writers who have written much better books than this one. It makes me wonder how seriously we should ever take these blurbs.
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