nine women, one dress


The Facts

Nine Women, One Dress by Jane L. Rosen
Basia rates it: 2/5

I’m honestly not quite sure what kept me reading this book. It felt like a young author’s first novel, not the product of a veteran writer. The prose was pretty mediocre, and there were so many exclamation points–almost all narratively, not in dialogue–which is always frustrating. This book is an excellent example of why I am wary of reading novels in first-person: I never got a feeling for the character telling the story–or, for that matter, any character. The prose was simplistic and almost childish at times (probably the exclamation points), with every single “essay” sporting the same boy-howdy, golly-gee sort of tone to it, and the author often gave in to stereotypes, as if we wouldn’t believe one of the young women whose story was being told was Southern without her speaking, even narratively, as if she were in a Tennessee Williams play.

The format of the “essays” also annoyed me. Each was introduced with a title, a byline, and occasionally (usually for the women, major side-eye) their age. Furthermore, there were times when the essay-writer would address the reader or refer specifically to their title or byline. It was jarring and disconcerting. It was a self-aware move that only works with some books, and this was certainly not one of them. I picked up this book because it seemed reminiscent of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, to a degree; from the description, it seemed as if it would be a third-person account of where this dress went, that I would consistently follow it on its journey from person to person. That, however, was not the case. So if that’s what you’re going into this book looking for, steer clear. You won’t get it. I was most excited during a scene in which a woman is killed when her cab is swallowed by a sinkhole. I sort of wanted to join her.

To say nothing of the low-key way in which it condones stalking.

I could go on, but I think you get the picture.

I’m still not sure what kept me reading this book. I think it was because I wanted to know what happened to the millennial who was looking for a job.