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A Dress the Color of the Sky by [Jennifer Irwin]

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A Dress the Color of the Sky Kindle Edition

4.9 out of 5 stars 143 ratings

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Length: 322 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
Page Flip: Enabled Age Level: 16 - 18 Grade Level: 10 - 12

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Editorial Reviews


"Reviewed by Laura Bach for Online BookClub, Four/Four Stars"
Sometimes I am wondering what happens to people in rehab. They seem to disappear, right? An addiction specialist told the author that the book could diminish people's fear of rehabilitation. In my case, it did.

A Dress the Color of the Sky is a steamy, raw, eye-opening contemporary book about addiction and redemption. The story empowers women. Our main character is Prudence Aldrich, a sex addict who checks in at Serenity Hills, a rehabilitation center. She confronts her traumatic past, dealing with an abusive childhood and an alcoholic husband named Nick. She is also a rape survivor. She meets people who help her gain control over herself. Prue is also the mother of a boy of fourteen years old named Christian. The story is a memoir of the author, who was trapped in an abusive marriage like Prue's. As the story progresses, we enter deep into Prue's troubled past. We see how her parents split, how she was treated by the men in her life, and where her addiction comes from. While we are traveling in her childhood memories, we also see her in the present, at the clinic. These alternations between past and present are going to captivate you, making you turn the pages faster for the next short chapter. The painful details of the past point to Prue's struggle of regaining control of her life.

Prue's development of character is the most valuable element of the book. Her progress is amazing. In spite of everything she went through, Prue stays good at heart. She knows she has to take care of her child, and she is desperate enough to give her body to strangers for money. Because of that, I compare her to Fantine from Les Miserables. If you liked it, you should also check out this book. Prue's strength is admirable. I think her being a mother was the only reason she wasn't completely lost. It is impossible to not feel something for her. You will see her reaching out for help throughout the book. I would've liked to know her in real life. Being in an abusive marriage, her husband Nick amplifies her negative feelings and her self-destructive behavior. The problem is that in every abusive relationship, the person abused can't leave the abuser. She is convinced that she is to blame for everything that goes wrong in their marriage. 

In the beginning, her progress means that she simply has to abstain from intimate relations with men. That's why she wears a pink label for her category of addicts, and a neon-pink sticker with "Females Only" written on it. But when Alistair, a cocaine addict, comes along, things become a little bit complicated. Will she be able to resist him and continue her treatment, or her desires will simply be too powerful? Another thing that threatens her progress is when Family Week comes, and Prue has to confront the problems with her family.

At the clinic, Prue mostly attends group meetings and therapy. I liked a method used in the book. They had a wall poster with eight basic emotions written on it: Anger, Fear, Pain, Joy, Passion, Love, Shame, and Guilt. The patients needed to use the words to describe what they felt, and thus their progress was monitored. I feel like that might be a good thing to try myself at home. Although it appears simple, it was interestingly used in the book. 

I wish other characters were developed more. I wanted to know more about some of them, like Prue's brother. But I understand that the other characters are there to amplify Prue's insecurities, or to offer support to her recovery. They have a clear purpose in the development of Prue's character. For that reason, I won't take any stars off. I appreciate that we saw people with other addictions and their meetings, for example, the AA meetings. Prue forms strong friendships with other addicts and doctors. I enjoyed the most her relationship with Christian, her son. She is a good mother to him, but he is just a child who can't understand why his mother leaves him alone at night.

The beginning was slow for me. Unfortunately, the story didn't grasp me at first. As it progressed, I got to see just how deep it went into psychology, and I started liking the serious subject. Eventually, the book remained stuck in my hands, and pages started flying. I enjoyed Prue's little sarcastic thoughts. The writing was light and flows gracefully. 

Prue involves herself sexually in a lot of dangerous relationships. The explicit scenes might make the reader uncomfortable, as they are more tragic than erotic. Those who don't like disturbing stories should stay away because this book is going to have an impact on everyone. Not to mention, only adults should read it.

In the last pages, there is a series of questions about the book meant to be answered in a group discussion. I've never seen that before, and I find it helpful because it feels like chatting with the author. I recommend this book to fans of adult fiction, to people who enjoy strong female characters, to those passionate about psychology, and to everyone looking for a book about love, addiction, redemption, family, and friendship. It is professionally edited, but I managed to find a few grammar mistakes, for example, missing or added prepositions. 

In conclusion, I enjoyed the development of the main protagonist, her relationship with the people who cared about her, the positive light in which the rehabilitation center is showed, and the list of questions the author asks at the end. I didn't enjoy the under-developed second characters, but I understood their purpose. For the reasons listed above, I give A Dress the Color of the Sky
 4 out of 4 stars.

"Reviewed by Katherine Williams for Readers' Favorite" Five stars

A Dress the Color of the Sky by Jennifer Irwin is a romance novel featuring Prudence Aldrich, also known as Prue, a woman who is having a hard time navigating her life. Under the control of her abusive husband, Nick, Prue copes with her pain through various addictions. After having several dangerous sexual encounters with strangers, Prue realizes she is not at fault for her emotions, and checks into Serenity Hills rehabilitation center. There, she discovers who she truly is as a person. She comes to understand that the abuse she has endured her whole life, including her childhood trauma, does not define who she is. She learns that she is here on this earth for a reason, and that it is okay to allow herself to heal and become free from the chains of all her negative experiences.

A Dress the Color of the Sky is a raw, emotional and compelling novel that will help you understand just how resilient victims of trauma can be. Prue is a character you will come to love and admire by the book's finish; her self-destructive behavior is hard to stomach, but you will cheer for her as she learns to love herself for who she is. Jennifer Irwin's writing is inviting; the plot goes into a considerable amount of depth that will stick with the reader; her characters are well-rounded and the dialogue is light and witty but heavy when needed. The pacing is just right, and overall the narrative flows nicely and does not seem to miss a beat. This is not your typical romance novel; it is so much more and manages to cover tricky themes like sex addiction in a thoughtful manner. I suggest this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about abuse victims. This book teaches you that no matter what you have done in your past, you are a person who is worthy of unconditional love. 

From the Author

What began as writing a book to personally heal from a toxic, traumatizing marriage, turned into a story that resonates with women. Through my career in teaching Pilates, I learned that most women want to be heard, to listen, and to give and receive advice. This sharing is how women grow, learn and feel better about themselves and their place in society. I realize that I can have a greater impact on women through my writing than I could have ever imagined and this has been quite rewarding.
Another important subject covered in my book is that of addiction. Addiction is something that most people have encountered through a variety of ways whether it be a family member, friend or themselves. Recently, an addiction specialist who read my book told me that he felt it would diminish people's fear of rehab. My book could "help people overcome the fear of seeking help by providing insight into the experience from a very raw and honest perspective." As the child of an alcoholic, drug addict, I spent a lot of time covering up the pain and overcompensating for the fact that I felt fatherless, but I had to choose not to have it ruin my life. I wanted to convey this message in my book through the main character so that other people can see that it is possible to rise up from bad things and lead a fulfilling, healthy life. I did a lot of research to write this book, attended AA, SAA and NAA meetings and interviewed many people. My hope is that this book can help people see that rehab isn't a scary, degrading place but rather a place to grow, change and dig into self-discovery.

Product details

  • File Size: 3572 KB
  • Print Length: 322 pages
  • Publisher: Glass Spider Publishing; 2 edition (April 11, 2018)
  • Publication Date: April 11, 2018
  • Sold by: Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B07C47G1B2
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #535,921 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
4.9 out of 5
143 customer ratings
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Reviewed in the United States on December 23, 2018
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Top international reviews

Cheryl fynes
5.0 out of 5 stars Unbelievable story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on March 17, 2020
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Kirst's Book Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars I felt moved by Pru's raw and emotional journey
Reviewed in Australia on July 4, 2018
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Sara Flower Kjeldsen
5.0 out of 5 stars Intelligent, beautiful, and complex
Reviewed in Canada on October 27, 2018
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Little King
4.0 out of 5 stars An interesting pseudo-scientific novel with the idea of sexual addiction as the central theme
Reviewed in Canada on August 3, 2019
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Sandy Barker
5.0 out of 5 stars A stunning read
Reviewed in Australia on September 15, 2018
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