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Feature book: The Dirty Book Club

10 October 2018

The Dirty Book Club by Lisi Harrison

Subgenre: chick lit
Release date: 10 Oct 2017
Publisher: Gallery Books
Format: hardcover / ebook
Length: 320 pages
RRP: A$29.99 / A$7.99

If you hesitate to read this because of the title, fear not and dive in. It’s not a ‘dirty book’ (although what is that?!). Rather, it’s about a group of four women who form a book club reading erotica, thinking it might help them in their lacklustre sex lives. Years down the track, they then ‘bequeath’ the DBC and all the books they’ve discovered to four more women who really haven’t got much in common—yet.

There’s very much an element of secrecy in the DBC. Only one person outside the group knows—or maybe thinks he knows—what it is, but really doesn’t know what goes on in the meetings, or what’s in the mysterious boxes that only become unsealed after he’s left the room.

Follow that? Intrigued?

The strength of this book is the astonishing girl bonding that occurs. The originals were fast friends before they formed the Club. The later four don’t really know each other at all, so haven’t got that deep friendship to fall back on when things get rocky with relationships. There’s the element of will the DBC last? with the latter four as they stagger through dramas, disasters and what could be perceived as betrayals.

Under this guise, there’s an astonishing array of Big Issues that present. This isn’t an exhaustive list, but among other things the girls face extra-marital affairs, huge job changes (one is massively stressful), the creation and destruction of dreams, unwanted pregnancies and all the tensions produced there, unwanted legacies that the girls don’t know what to do with, secrets, lies, relationship issues with the men in their lives, and tension between themselves as they struggle to maintain some sort of friendship and at least give the DBC a go.

You’ll love the dialogue and scenes between the girls. Achingly honest, often brutally cutting, often fuelled by alcohol or lack of sleep or panicked drama, it will make you cry in the sad parts, then laugh and wish you had BFFs like these.

More women’s fiction with romantic elements than romance, this is a strong book to enjoy.

Reviewed by Mary D

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

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