*I received a free copy of The Dirty Book Club from Gallery Books via Edelweiss. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review, which is honest and unbiased *The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison
Published by Gallery Books on 10 October 2017
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Women's Fiction
M.J. Stark’s life is picture-perfect—she has her dream job as a magazine editor, a sexy doctor boyfriend, and a glamorous life in New York City. But behind her success, there is a debilitating sense of loneliness. So when her boss betrays her and her boyfriend offers her a completely new life in California, she trades her cashmere for caftans and gives it a try. Once there, M.J. is left to fend for herself in a small beach town, with only the company of her elderly neighbor, Gloria, and an ocean that won’t shut up.
One afternoon, M.J. discovers that Gloria has suddenly moved to Paris with her friends to honor a fifty-year-old pact. And in lieu of a goodbye, she’s left a mysterious invitation to a secret club—one that only reads erotic books. Curious, M.J. accepts and meets the three other hand-selected club members. As they bond over naughty bestsellers and the shocking letters they inherited from the original club members, the four strangers start to divulge the intimate details of their own lives… and as they open up, they learn that friendship might just be the key to rewriting their own stories: all they needed was to find each other first.
The Dirty Book Club is all about female friendships and empowerment, and how books may be the way to both!
M.J. thought she had it all, but living her life not fully knowing what she wanted didn’t make her happy The Dirty Book Club changed all that. At first, she had some awkward interactions with some of the women her own age, but she felt like people in LA were so very different from the New Yorkers she was used to.
The Dirty Book Club followed both M.J. and her new friends and Gloria and her friends. Quite a bit of the story happened in the past, when Gloria and her friends were younger. They were rather open-minded, and they enjoyed finding books that were not necessarily readily accepted by society.
Friendships, learning to get to know themselves, and accept both themselves and others for who they are are among the important themes in The Dirty Book Club.
M.J. was so sure she’d get the promotion she wanted. When it became a co-editor position instead, she became so disappointed she left the magazine behind to go live with her boyfriend at the opposite coast. And that’s when she felt completely lost and without direction.
Gloria was still in her prime. At times, she felt like she had sacrificed her life for her husband and children, but The Dirty Book Club and her friends helped her through both bad times and good.
The other characters were side side characters, but they were still well fleshed out and were realistic.
Writing style :
Third person, past tense with lots of well-done dialogues. The narration mostly follows either Gloria or M.J.
I felt both happy and sad for these women – in the present and in the past. I also felt a certain melancholy. So often, society, and we, ourselves, put so much pressure on women to be a certain way. To fit a certain picture. The Dirty Book Club is a way to show that more than one way can be the good way.
Their relationship was more like an arranged marriage designed to preserve a bloodline and uphold traditions. It lacked history, chemistry, passion. Still. There would be a next time.
“Fuck!” she said, wiping her lips on the back of her hand – her thirty-fifth birthday and the only thing in her mouth was an electric toothbrush. The night was not supposed to end this way. No night was! It didn’t matter how many times she brushed, the taste of resentment was still there – metal and dirt, like prison bars – prison bars disguised as a gift from Gloria, Liddy, Dot and Marjorie.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: