The Dirty Book Club
By Lisi Harrison
Read by: Joy Osmanski
8 hrs and 12 mins
Simon & Schuster Audio | ISBN 9781508241829 | October 10, 2017
I voluntarily reviewed an advance readers copy of this book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
From the author of the #1 New York Times bestselling series The Clique comes Lisi Harrison’s debut adult novel about four modern-day strangers who inherit a dirty book club that was started in the 1960s.
M.J. Stark’s life is picture-perfect—she has a dream job as a magazine editor, a sexy doctor boyfriend, and a glamorous life in Manhattan. But behind her success, she can’t shake a deep sense of loneliness. So when her boyfriend offers her a completely new life in California after a promotion does not go her way, she decides to give it try. Once there, M.J. is left to fend for herself in a small California beach town, with only the company of her elderly neighbor, Gloria.
One day M.J. receives a mysterious invitation and a copy of Prim: A Modern Woman’s Guide to Manners. She recognizes the book as an outdated classic, but when she opens it, she discovers that it’s actually a copy of Fear of Flying by Erica Jong and the invitation is to join Gloria’s secret book club—one that only reads erotic books. Out of curiosity, M.J. goes to the meeting at a local bookstore, and discovers three other women who have also been selected by the club’s original members—who have suddenly left the country to honor a fifty-year-old pact. As these unlikely friends bond over naughty bestsellers, each woman shares not only the intimate details of her own sex life, but all areas of her life. Inspired by the characters in the novels they read—and the notes passed down by the club’s original members—the new members of The Dirty Book Club help each other find the courage to rewrite their own stories and risk it all for a happy ending. http://www.simonandschuster.com/books/The-Dirty-Book-Club/Lisi-Harrison/9781508241829
I found this story felt like a cross between a bunch of recent stories involving a book club and women in various stages of life and trouble. While I felt it was uninspired it does have a few unique turns, a terribly sad inception mysterious relationships and doesn’t necessarily provide the HEA for every character.
Osmanski is an experienced narrator for contemporary women’s fiction and does a great job with this novel. The main female character, was, I felt, incredibly self-absorbed and, fortunately surrounded by indulgent people and driven in her career, but couldn’t see the forest for the trees. Other female characters dealt with the issues in their lives and move on, but it is really hard for M. J. because of her feelings of guilt. Is the guilt insurmountable? I don’t believe so. She has a shrink and others succeed in moving on. Eventually she will, but she indulged in her grief depending on others to make her life move forward and allow her to continue on the path it would be too hard to push her off.
I didn’t feel as if any of the characters really were well developed or likeable (MJ’s boyfriend was likeable but cilngy). I didn’t know the older characters playing with the lives of the younger ones enough to find a relationship between the characters. Her boyfriend loves her but her love is lesser than his and their interest are diverse. It was all a little coincidental and shallow. I feel the author may have attempted to fit a huge novel into a small one. The first books they read may have been dirty for the earlier club but today’s reader would scoff at the idea. Of course, the books are about more than sex.
This wasn’t awful, it was even enjoyable but didn’t really leave me feeling satisfied. It would be a fine read for a plane ride or a beach read.