The power of the little black dress. “Invented” by Coco Chanel, that close-to-perfection black dress hangs in every woman’s closet along with her best black heels and strand of pearls. In Jane Rosen’s novel Nine Women, One Dress the LBD is elevated to perfection: this one dress introduces true love, banishes gold diggers, inspires burkha’ed teenagers, hides a celebrity and does all but banish the Wicked Witch of the West.
I listened to Nine Women, One Dress on audio tape and candidly, must to admit not much liking it. Generally, I avoid featuring books on daeandwrite.wordpress.com that I dislike, but the reviews for Nine Women, One Dress are so over-the-top fabulous, I wanted to write about it and hope that some of my readers will tell me what I missed. Maybe it was the audio?
Seriously, here are some of the reviews:
Rosen’s debut novel is rich in relationships, written with clarity and humor and surprise twists that bring the tale to a satisfying conclusion. A pure pleasure to read. https://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/jane-l-rosen/nine-women-one-dress/
This is a fun book, tightly plotted and perfectly timed for the summer season. http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-0-385-54140-4
Rosen deftly peels back the layers and reveals the lives that inhabit the skyscrapers, brownstones, the department stores, hotels, and parks. Most of the time, it’s not pretty out there, and when it appears perfect on the surface, there is always, always, a story worth telling. http://www.townandcountrymag.com/leisure/arts-and-culture/reviews/a6422/nine-women-one-dress-jane-rosen/
First-time author Jane Rosen is a screenwriter and Huffington Post contributor according to her bio. She’s represented by a big-time literary agent, Alexandra Machinist at ICM Partners. Not that there’s anything wrong with that: I’m just trying to crack the code.
Nine Women, One Dress is a series of monologues of lives sewn together (see how I did that?) by their connection to one little black dress. As in one piece of fabric dress; not the same style dress owned by nine different people. This is like the traveling pants or King Arthur’s Excalibur. BE IT PROCLAIMED: SHE WHO PULLS THIS DRESS FROM THE RACK SHALL FORTHWITH GO FORTH AND HAVE INTERESTING EXPERIENCES. Along those lines.
And here’s another thing: listening to Nine Women, One Dress was like a six hour Bloomingdale’s ad. Love Bloomies. Love dresses. Love LBDs. Love books. Just sayin — the dress at issue comes from Bloomingdale’s and returns to Bloomingdale’s and the sales woman at Bloomingdale’s falls in love and the other sales woman at Bloomingdale’s maneuvers a couple into falling in love and a young woman hides out at Bloomingdale’s to wear Bloomingdale’s clothes and try Bloomingdale’s products and take photos of herself in front of Bloomingdale’s displays. And sew on.
And another thing: Nine Women, One Dress opens with a prologue monologue from the point of view of an Alabama beauty queen turned runway model. Here’s a taste:
“Every year there’s one dress,” she explained. “The front row people out there they choose it. See ’em?” She pointed to where two cavernous curtains met. . . . “Come fall those front row people are gonna put that dress on the covers of magazines, on red carpets, and in store windows. And it’s usually little and black, like yours.”
Her voice near bout erased her beauty. She was like one of those silent film stars my grandma used to go on about who went bust the day the talkies came out. She sounded so foreign to me. I reckon if I spoke with my southern drawl she would feel the same way about me.
I’ll just leave that there.
Nine Women, One Dress reminded me of Being Audrey Hepburn by Mitchell Kriegman, another book about an iconic dress that didn’t read as well as the idea of the novel sounded.
Are you reading it? Have you? What did you think?
Classic New York because I don’t remember any or much food in the book.
Bagels are definitely mentioned.
New York-style pizza
Big pretzels with mustard
It would be easy to go all-Frank Sinatra. Or you could do a New York mix. Or — from fashionable Marie Claire magazine — a playlist of songs about fashion. http://www.marieclaire.com/fashion/a11730/best-songs-about-fashion/
So, I always look forward to having comments from readers but I’m particularly looking forward to hearing your thoughts about Nine Women, One Dress.