Monday 21 November 2022

A Dress the Color of the Moon by Jennifer Irwin

Book Details:

​Book Title:  A Dress the Color of the Moon by Jennifer Irwin
Category:  Adult Fiction (18+),  360 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction 
Publisher:  Glass Spider Publishing
Release date:  October 30, 2021
Content Rating:  PG-13 +M: Though this book deals with sexual addiction, it does not contained explicit sex scenes and the language is tame. The book's focus is on the protagonist's path toward recovery from an addiction.
Book Description:

Prudence Aldrich is a sex addict. Five weeks ago, she checked into the Serenity Hills rehab center to prevent that addiction from ruining every important relationship in her life. Now Prue must face the trail of destruction she left behind, including mending the broken bond with her teenage son, finalizing the divorce from her husband, Nick, and using a newly learned set of skills to ward off her insatiable cravings for male attention-a compulsion that puts her friendship with lifelong pal Lily to the test.

​Adding ever further complications to the hurdles in her path is the arrival into town of Alistair Prescott, her in-rehab romantic obsession, and the one person in the world most capable of throwing Prue off her recovery. Meanwhile, Serenity Hills counselor Mike Sullivan is undergoing a crisis of his own-one that will drive him to the rediscovery of a lifelong passion . . . and causing him to cross paths again with Prue, his former patient.

A Dress the Color of the Moon tracks the rocky and sometimes disastrous path to recovery-a recovery that will require Prudence and her friends to face down the demons of their pasts while learning to accept the fearful uncertainty that comes with living life on your own two feet.

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This book's striking cover art first caught my attention and, although its synopsis wasn't then what I had expected to see, its concept appealed to me as a reader. A Dress the Color of the Moon is actually the second of two books. I hadn't read its predecessor, but found I had no problems in launching straight in to the story so I can confidently recommend A Dress the Color of the Moon as a standalone novel.

Events are recounted mostly from the perspective of recovering addict Prudence - Prue - as she attempts to regain some form of an addiction free life. This made for an interesting juxtaposition for me because, while Prue is certainly an engaging narrator, I didn't actually like her very much as a person. She's incredibly self-centered and frequently complains of faults in other people that I could clearly recognise in her too. For example, at one point she says that her rehab friend Gloria has stilted maturity, probably due to childhood abuse. I thought Prue's continued insistence on putting herself at the centre of everyone's attention displayed a similar childishness. I appreciated how Jennifer Irwin portrayed these contradictions and complexities in Prue's character. 

I was not so impressed by some over-convenient or perhaps just under-explored subplots which were unnecessarily distracting and didn't seem to fulfil any narrative purpose. Alistair's search for a particular woman is an example of this. On the other hand, Prue's setbacks in trying to rebuild a constructive relationship with her son was poignant, especially when she recognised how she herself was perpetuating damaging parental examples from her own childhood.

A Dress the Color of the Moon was an unusual and insightful read that I'm glad to have discovered and read. It is potentially triggering on a number of issues surrounding addiction, suicide, childhood abuse and parental neglect, but I felt that Irwin always negotiated these subjects respectfully. While, understandably, not always a happy tale I thought it struck a hopeful note overall and was a sensitive depiction of addiction recovery.

Meet the Author:

Jennifer Irwin’s debut novel, A Dress the Color of the Sky, was published in 2017 and has received rave reviews, won seven book awards, and was optioned for a feature film. Jennifer’s short stories have appeared in numerous literary publications including California’s Emerging Writers: An Anthology of Fiction. Jennifer is represented by Prentis Literary and currently resides in Los Angeles.

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1 comment:

  1. This book certainly has an interesting premise. I think the fact it was difficult to like the main character may put me off a bit, but then again its books like this that awaken compassion in us for others and their lives.