The Dirty Girls Social Club (2003)
Author: Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez
Genre: Chick Lit
Six beautiful, successful Latina women from vastly different backgrounds met as freshmen in college and have maintained their friendship for ten years, meeting at least twice a year. They call themselves sucias, which roughly translates to ‘dirty girls’. Over the course of six months, their friendship is what holds them together throughout love and hate, trials and triumphs. Angry Lauren writes a column for the paper and always falls for the wrong men. She hides in her fiancee’s closet and catches him sleeping with another girl. Sara seems to have it all, a happy wife and mother, but her smile hides the physically abusive relationship with the husband who nearly kills her. Usnavys loves Juan, but can’t get over the fact that he is poor and is likely to remain that way. Wild Amber is a musician who finally lands a record deal only to lose her devoted boyfriend to jealousy. Gorgeous Elizabeth is a popular news anchor until her sexual orientation is revealed by a gossip columnist. Rebecca seems in control of every aspect of her life, but hides the fact that doesn’t even share her bed with her husband any more.
Geographical Setting: Boston
Time Period: 2003
Very character driven, the book focuses on getting to know the six different sucias and then solving their respective crisis. The narration is first person, with each sucia getting equal time, and the author does a nice job of giving each woman her own voice – from Lauren’s angry rantings to Usnavys’s conversational, gossipy tone. It is an effective form of narration, and you really care for each of them by the end of the book. The pacing is fast due to the fact that it is really six intertwining short stories that center on the women’s friendship. The author has a bit of a heavy-handed agenda to inform us about the differences in Latino backgrounds and cultures, and her target audience could be other Latinos, or people who are merely curious about Latino culture. The overall tone is humorous and a little romantic and though it has its darker moments, the reader has a sense that everything will turn out right in the end, which it does.
Similar Authors: Lori M. Carlson (The Sunday Tertulia); Patrick Sanchez (The Way It Is); Terry McMillan (Waiting to Exhale); Anne Brashares (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants).
Red Flags: domestic violence, cursing, lesbian relationship, interracial couples, alcohol abuse, sexual situations.