Author Jennifer Close has been to a lot of weddings. And engagement parties. And bridal showers. And bachelorette soirees. But then again, you’d be hard-pressed to find any 32-year-old who hasn’t.
Such is the social life of most post-grad women, an era Close deftly captures in her debut novel, “Girls in White Dresses,” which follows a group of women as they navigate the wilds (and subsequent hangovers) of their 20s and 30s — and yes, go to a ton of weddings.
“I was writing it one summer when I had ten weddings to go to and was in three of them. It was sort of all we talked about,” Close says from her home in Washington, D.C. “It’s that time of your life when it overtakes you.”
Her weekends were booked and her bank account drained, but the nuptials gave Close a gift — a way to pull together the vignettes she was working on. “After I got my MFA, I started working at a magazine [Portfolio] and it was so busy that I stopped working on my own stuff,”?she remembers. “But slowly, these stories starting coming out. And after it folded, I had the time to work on them. I realized weddings would be a good way to tie together their lives.”
Close’s publisher is betting that the mixture of Close’s sardonic,
well-crafted female characters and the all-too-familiar feeling of
wedding fatigue will capture a large audience; it’s one of Knopf’s
biggest releases of the fall. “The thing that makes me happiest is when
people tell me, ‘I know who these girls are. They are my friends,’”
Close admits. “That’s when I know I did my job well.”