Classic book review: Alisa Valdes’ “The Dirty Girls Social Club”

the-dirty-girls-social-clubYou know how you have that friend that’s funny and entertaining, but sometimes they’re annoying, too? The Dirty Girls Social Club by Alisa Valdes is like that friend.

Social Club, which was released in 2003, focuses on six friends in their late 20s in Boston who met in college and reunite several times a year. The characters are Lauren, the newspaper columnist looking for love; Rebecca, the uptight magazine editor stuck in a stale marriage; Elizabeth, the newscaster with a secret; Sara, the stay-at-home mom in denial about her abusive marriage; Usnavys, the non-profit executive who is torn over her relationship with a man who makes less money than her; and Amber, the musician who is active in the Mexica movement and later changes her name to Cuicatl.

The book has been frequently referred to as a Latina Sex and the City or Waiting to Exhale by Terry McMillan because of its depiction of strong female friendship. But it’s unique in its depiction of Latina in high-powered professional roles.

Valdes, a former newspaper reporter, writes clearly, so it’s an easy read. One scene in which Sara’s life is in danger is particularly gripping. Valdes has a knack for depicting women’s complex feelings and personalities, and she can nail some funny moments.

Take this scene in which Lauren found out some bad news:

“I feel like killing myself. I stop at the corner Korean market and buy a bag of Hot Cheetos, a carton of powdered sugar donuts, three chocolate bars, and a can of Pringles.”

Or this conversation between two of the characters:

“Back in college, you remember that trip we all took to Cancún for spring, you, me, Roberto, that guy Gerald I was dating, Lauren and that one guy, whatever his name was?”

“Alberto. Pimple man.”

“Alberto. Zits galore. Him.”

But some things tested my patience. The exposition takes too long. The character of Usnavys is so shallow that she’s hard to like. And considering the book takes place in a six-month span, the ending wraps up just a bit too tidy.

Still, just like that friend who can be annoying, Dirty Girls Social Club is also something that can be fun and rewarding.

Alisa ValdesMore about Alisa Valdes:

Cuban-American, New Mexico-based Alisa Valdes’ newest book is the just-released The Feminist and the Cowboy. She’s written two sequels to The Dirty Girls Social Club – Dirty Girls on Top and Lauren’s Saints of Dirty Faith, as well as a cooking blog, in addition to other novels.

Source: I checked this book out of the library.

Note: This review is part of a series of classic books by Latinas, which I’m catching up from last year. Next up: Under the Feet of Jesus by Helena María Viramontes.

1 Comment

Filed under Book Reviews, Classic Books, Fiction

One response to “Classic book review: Alisa Valdes’ “The Dirty Girls Social Club”

  1. This sounds like a good filler to read in conjunction with something else, but I do want to read it.

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