You know how you read the back of a book and suddenly feel like you’ve already got the whole book plot laid out in your head? Then you actually read the book and it’s nothing like you expected? That’s what happened here.
I expected this to be a funny book-version of Bridesmaids or something similar. Most of the blurbs pegged this book as witty and even said the characters could be Carrie Bradshaw’s younger sister. Honestly, I found those particular reviews pretty off but I actually liked the book more for it. It stepped away from the consistently light-hearted banter and showed real female characters paddling through their twenties, trying to make it to dry land (aka their thirties) without drowning. Not every relationship was comically complicated and not every woman in the story managed to somehow always come out on top and happy. It was a very realistic portrayal of several women managing jobs (or lack thereof), men (or lack thereof), and babies (or lack thereof).
It reminded me uncannily of some of my friends. I also noticed a lot of my own qualities mixed up in the various characters. In fact if they all became one, that one would be me. It was kind of scary to read so many similarities and connect with all the different characters so strongly. Jennifer Close hit the nail on the head with the many changes that come with the end of college. While the men were all relatively one-dimensional, all the female characters had so much zest that the story almost felt like these women exist and had decided to sit down and write their stories together.
It would be too hard to go over the plot line because the entire novel is strung together by many sub-plots. You get equally attached to all the women because you see their lives from their own point of view, then their friends’ analyses of the same, and vice-versa. Usually I’m not a fan of jumping from character to character in terms of point-of-view, but because each chapter wrapped up the story and moved on to a new place in everyone’s lives, it was not only tolerable but pleasant!
I can’t stress enough how much I loved that this wasn’t just a flippant medley of stories that were semi-believable but wrapped up with a pink, perfect bow at the end. This is not your standard chick-lit book; hallelujah! It was unnerving at times to realize that everything happening in all these vibrant women’s lives was close enough to my own reality. Some characters were pretty much people I knew and it was like reading into their future’s as well as my own. When the girls got together, their commentary and actions were drastically akin to what happens when I get together with my friends from college. I just only hope I stay in touch with them as successfully as this group did. Though with all the other similarities, I’m sure it won’t be a problem.
This book was nothing like I expected and while at first I was thrown off, I grew to love that element of surprise. Definitely one I will pick up and read again as I progress deeper into my twenties to remind myself that not every decision will be perfect, and it’s okay to question even the things you love. Everybody does it. Also, if I sputter and drown momentarily, a life boat probably won’t come by to save me but, chances are, I’ll eventually sober up enough to paddle to shore.
Word of Caution: if you’re anything like me, be prepared to have Julie Andrews melodiously murmuring “girls in white dresses with blue satin sashes” on repeat in your brain. From the scene where she realizes she can turn curtains into clothes for the Von Trapp children. Seriously. On repeat. All weekend long.