|New from||Used from|
Audible Audiobook, Abridged
|with membership trial|
The Dirty Girls Social Club: A Novel (The Dirty Girls Social Club, 1) Paperback – May 13, 2004
Inspire a love of reading with Amazon Book Box for Kids
Discover delightful children's books with Amazon Book Box, a subscription that delivers new books every 1, 2, or 3 months — new Amazon Book Box Prime customers receive 15% off your first box. Sign up now
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Frequently bought together
“Valdes-Rodriguez' novel delivers on the promise of its sexy title (with a) diverse group of women that defies stereotypes. The book addresses serious questions-prejudice, the difficulty of winning respect from Latino men-but balances them with enough romances...to satisfy any chick lit fan. This is a fun, irresistible debut.” ―Publishers Weekly
“Valdes-Rodriguez' compelling characters are enhanced by their racial identities but not at all inaccessible to the non-Hispanic...an enjoyable read.” ―San Antonio Express-News
“...the summer's must-have beach book.” ―Latina magazine
“...Valdes-Rodriguez has written an incredible first novel, told in six distinct voices and points of view.” ―Library Journal
“...a heartfelt, fast-moving, and often funny page-turner.” ―Booklist
“The writing is strong, fluid, and sometimes laugh-out loud funny.” ―Pioneer Press
“(an) affecting debut that takes a long, hard, and funny look at life in the U.S. for Latina women...an upscale telenovela with well-drawn, charmingly flawed characters from an author who explodes some myths.” ―Kirkus Reviews
“Dirty Girls sets out to prove Latina can mean anything-black, white, rich, poor, Spanish-speaking, not Spanish-speaking.” ―The Miami Herald
“...a fresh spin on the best-of-friends novel that's funny, touching, and exhilarating. A winner!” ―Jennifer Crusie
“...in the end, it's the complex, finely drawn characters who make the book work.” ―Rocky Mountain News
“This lively debut novel...reads like the Hispanic version of Waiting to Exhale.” ―New York
“As a guilty pleasure it ranks somewhere between Valrhona chocolate and Jimmy Choo shoes-I simply could not put it down.” ―Whitney Otto, author of How to Make an American Quilt
“The Latina community has a rich new voice and Valdez-Rodriguez is it.” ―Jeffrey Kluger, coauthor of Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13
“This season's most scrumptious book...a summer must.” ―Advocate
“Those who liked The Joy Luck Club or The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood will enjoy The Dirty Girls Social Club...It is heartfelt, fast-moving, and often funny.” ―Oklahoman
“Marked by fast-paced dialogue and a pop-culture sensibility, this engaging novel, each section of which is written from a different woman's perspective, carries an unmistakable message.” ―Book
About the Author
- Publisher : St. Martin's Griffin; Reprint edition (May 13, 2004)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 320 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0312313829
- ISBN-13 : 978-0312313821
- Item Weight : 10.4 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 0.67 x 8.5 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #566,567 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Before I keep going further, this review is going to be a reflection of my own feelings about it, as it touches so many topics, that re-reading it as a 31 year old had a much different effect than when I was 16 and had no real life experience.
This book touched on domestic violence, homophobia, racism/colorism, and so many things it’ll be hard to touch everything in a single sit down for this review. Just know, whether you like the book or not, its story feels just as relevant now, if not more, than when it was released in 2004.
First thing I’d like to mention is how biased I am. I’m an Afro-Cuban woman who normally identified as African-American(which isn’t untrue, but identity is complicated) up until my 20’s. To see two Afro-latinx characters have to face the abuse they had, reminded me just how ignored our abuse in the Latinx community tends to be. I also lived in JP(Jamaica Plans, a neighborhood in Boston) so I can honestly say it brought out the JP I remembered, and brings to mind The Pineapple Diaries if you like Latinx narratives set there =)
DGSC focuses on 6 characters who all identify as Latinx but are different sizes, races, religions, political affiliations, you name it.
It might confuse some people to have to remember that many characters, but since I was listening to the audiobook, each voice was unique so I always knew who was talking when prompted.
There was Usnavys (which couldn’t get more Puerto Rican/Dominican if you ask me) a light skinned, plus sized Afro-Latinx woman who was ultra-feminine but street smart. Elizabeth, the explicit looking Afro-Latinx woman from Colombia, who was a closeted lesbian, conservative Christian and a newscaster. I mention them first because they reminded me the most of myself, being Black and essentially a pariah in the Latinx community. Sara, Elizabeth’s best friend and a white Jewish Cuban with an abusive husband. Amber/Cuicatl, a Mexican/Indigenous brown musician seeking to validate her roots before colonization. Rebecca, a white Catholic latinx with racist/prejudice parents, and Lauren, another White Latinx woman with an eating disorder, with a non-mf factor boyfriend who aint ish.
A lot right?
Trigger warning for survivors of DV. It’s not pretty or glamourous. It’s actually pretty graphic. It brought me back to my own abusive father hitting and beating on my mother growing up, and I’m telling you, you never get truly over abuse, so it’s best to know that before you read it. It showed it in such a real way(and I mean from my own experience. Someone’s experience can be totally different, and abuse isn’t always physical like it was in this book) I was really uncomfortable. But lemme just say Sara had the bombest kids ever. Her sons did not for one second normalize that abuse, so when push came to shove, they snitched on that non-mf factor father of theirs. This is so important in a latinx home, because the more you see it and ignore it, the more desensitized you become to it. I can’t help that some imagery loses it’s effect on me, because I grew up in a house filled with violent imagery. I haven’t normalized it per se, I’m just always thinking “it could be worse”, which I admit is problematic as well.
This is where things are the most uncomfortable for me. I grew up part Miami, part New Haven, so my experiences as an Afro-Latinx person have changed based on location. The term Afro-Latinx didn’t exist when I was a kid, so since I didn’t want to confuse people, I’d just say AA because it was easier. Latinx culture is diverse, and beautiful, there isn’t a question about that. But it can also be an ugly, negative and dangerous place for Black-Latinx people like myself.
So many times the white latinx women so easily threw around how “disappointed” their parents would be if they dated Black, and that’s what Black latinx people hear their whole lives. That literally no one wants us, so take what you can get if it’s light :p That damages so much of our self esteem, and I had to come to terms with my own feelings about being dark skinned(I’m actually quite dark. Most Afro-Latinx on screen don’t look like me, so I usually have and still continue to look up to AA actresses and entertainers, because it seems like they don’t allow certain Afro-Latinx looks to make it to the small or big screen).
I think the plot brought out the conversation, but some points were a little out of touch, mostly since it was written so long ago. Rebecca’s love interest was a (swoon) British-Nigerian man, but I beg to differ that he’d never experienced racism living in the UK. Most black people experience racism, even if just through microaggressions. The author is a mixed race/white passing latinx woman, so I think that was just a little out of touch, but not enough for me to hate the book.
Overall, there’s so much I could bring up, but my review would be too long.
The author narrated her own book, and since she’s latinx, I’m glad she did. She did the accents, both Bostonian, and non-American latinx really well, as well as the Spanish being on point, so it’s going to suck when I read the sequel since she doesn’t narrate.
If you’re looking for an inclusive book that showcases different narratives of latinx women, I’d highly recommend. Especially as an audiobook =)
The Dirty Girls Social Club is about six women who call themselves the sucias: Lauren, Usnavys, Amber, Sara, Liz, and Rebecca who met in college and meet up once a year to talk about their lives.
Lauren describes the term sucia like this:
“Sucia means ‘dirty girl.’ Usnavys came up with it. ‘Buena sucia’ is actually pretty offensive to most Spanish-speaking people, akin to ‘big smelly ‘ho.’ So Buena Sucia Social Club is, how do you say, irreverent. Right? And obnoxious. It’s a pun, too, see, taken from the name of those old-as-dirt Cuban musicians who record with Ry Cooder and star in German documentaries, who every non-Latino I know thinks I am genetically predisposed to like. (I’m not.) We’re clever and, like, hip when it comes to pop culture, we sucias. Okay, fine. Maybe it’s stupid. Maybe we’re stupid. But we think it’s funny, okay? Well, Rebecca doesn’t, but she’s about as funny as Hitler’s hemorrhoids. (You didn’t hear that from me.)”
For those who don’t know, Buena Sucia Social Club is a riff on the album Buena Vista Social Club released in 1997 by the ensemble of the same name.
Anyway, you can kinda get the vibe from that extract. The Dirty Girls Social club has a light, sarcastic tone that makes it pretty easy and fun to read. Because I was expecting chick lit, though, I wasn’t prepared for how dark it would get. Where Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants has a relationship between a camper and counselor, Dirty Girls has an abusive spousal situation that gets pretty disturbing, so here’s your trigger warning. Honestly, that scene put me on edge the whole next day, so seriously… beware!
The sucias meet in the first chapter and then the other chapters alternate between their different points of view. Each woman has a different background and faces different challenges in her life. Lauren is half-Cuban and half-white, but she has to represent the Latinx community at her newspaper job, which means having to fit in the box set for her by white culture, though she tries to push the edges out little by little by educating people through her writing.
Rebecca is Catholic and identifies as European Spanish though Lauren insists she looks like a Pueblo Indian. She’s from an established family in Albuquerque and is married to Brad, the lazy critical theory PhD-candidate son of an extremely wealthy (and racist) white family. She started a fashion magazine and is very successful in her professional life, but her personal life is unfulfilling.
Usnavys is Puerto Rican. She’s an executive with United Way and is trying to resist marrying her longtime boyfriend Juan because she thinks he’s not rich enough for her. She’s struggling to overcome the mindset of poverty that she internalized in childhood.
Sara is Cuban and Jewish. She married her high school sweetheart Roberto and has two boys, but things aren’t as picturesque as they seem as she and Roberto’s fights are escalating.
Elizabeth (Liz) is the co-host for a network morning show. She’s a black Latina from Colombia with a secret that gets outed in the second half.
Amber is a rock en Español singer who’s on the brink of stardom. She’s heavily into the Mexica movement, though Lauren says she was a pocha in college: “’Pocha,’ for the uninitiated, refers to the kind of Mexican-American who speaks no Spanish and breaks into a sweat if she eats anything hotter than Old El Paso mild salsa.” She had a middle-class upbringing in San Diego. She’s my favorite sucia and the idea of the Mexica movement has me kind of curious so I might look for books or videos about that in the future.
There are two things I took away from this book that I didn’t really think about before: how diverse the Latin community is, and how the typical Mexican you think of is an indigenous American. I guess those are pretty obvious when you think about it, but white people (or at least myself) don’t know much about Latinx people in general. Lauren also brings up a couple times how white people tend to assume that Latin people are poor and how that isn’t always the case. If you’re white and you want to start learning about the Latinx community, this isn’t a bad place to start. It is accessible (though the sarcastic tone probably won’t win over more conservative readers).
The characters are great. The plot could be better. The gay rep I think is kind of a weak point… this was published in 2007 and the gay male side characters seemed stereotypical to me. Liz seemed pretty good but I didn’t really connect with her as a bi woman. Maybe it’s just because I mostly interact with the LGBT community online, or maybe things have changed since this came out, but something about her seems off and I can’t quite put my finger on it… Her arc feels more like it’s about her being persecuted by the world for being gay and not about her as a character.
There’s a little bit of romance, though not much, as a lot of the relationships are… not great. It was a little shocking honestly how many different kinds of bad men there are out there. Some people might say Ms. Valdes is being misandrist but… I believe it. Two of the men turn out to be surprisingly good, though! I feel like our culture pushes a lot of simple love stories when it seems like most people go through a couple partners before they find someone they really like. I think the narrative of going from bad partners to better partners is a meaty enough theme to hold many stories, and Ms. Valdes uses it to great effect.
It’s not perfect, but I’d still definitely recommend it! It’s fun and will expand your world a little bit. 😊
Top reviews from other countries
Al ser de segunda mano, la calidad no era muy buena y presentaba muchas marcas de uso.