The Dirty Girls Social Club, Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez

(Buy it HERE.)

You know what the weirdest thing about being an adult is? It’s that nobody ever really tells the whole truth. We’re told not to lie for our entire childhoods, then we grow up and realize almost no-one is ever entirely honest about what’s really going on with them.
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Take, for example, the protagonists of The Dirty Girls Social Club–six very grown, very successful Latinas in Boston. Some are family women, some are professionals, some are lovestruck…and all are liars. Every one of them is keeping secrets, and the plot of the book predictably follows their lives as the truth comes out, bit by bit. ⠀
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I enjoyed this. I don’t like drawing comparisons, but it’s a bit like a Latina Waiting To Exhale. There’s the same sense of camaraderie, a similar tone as the book nods to life as a modern, professional woman who also wants love and family and a decent place to live, preferably without racism kicking your ass as you do it. As a nice touch, the Dirty Girls have not only diverse personalities but cultures and backgrounds–Amber is a goth Mexica rocker with working class roots, Liz a gorgeous Black Colombian, Sara a rich white Cuban Jew, Becca a New Mexican Hispanic princess, Usnavys a Puerto Rican plus-size diva, and finally Lauren is half Cuban-exile, half-American trailer park, all disaster. They interact like oil and vinegar–the book has a slow start but once it smooths out it’s quite entertaining. It’s a sloppy, girly story of friendships, relationships and all the drama they contain, and I had fun visiting with these ladies for a bit.⠀
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There’s a few things that kept this from being perfect for me. All six main characters are very strongly written, but many of their storylines get left out in the cold. Also, the author quite candidly writes the anti-Blackness and homophobia endemic in some Latin communities into the characters’ lives–so candidly that at some points, I forgot these were just characters in a book and got legitimately angry. It’s strange and uncomfortable to see the rumors of what other cultures think of your community confirmed and laid out boldly on a page, even when it’s called out as wrong.

(It bears mentioning here that I first heard of this book, and its author, via her supremely written, incisive takedown of Oprah’s Book Club darling American Dirt. That link directs you to the takedown, not to the book. It’s one of the best things I’ve read in a long while.)
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In the end, though, this was a fun, relatable bit of chick-lit, broadly inclusive of Latinx/Latine groups, and full of juicy drama that kept me turning pages. 4 stars and some therapy to The Dirty Girls Social Club.

(Beautiful people! I thought about doing this usual announcement in Spanish and then I realized I knew better and decided to let you know that this blog has affiliate relationships with great sites like Bookshop and any click/purchases result in a commission being paid in English, like I usually do. Peace!)

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