Reading Savanna Fox's The Dirty Girls Book Club is a meta experience in every way. Thirty-something working mom (me) picks up book about twenty-something career woman (Georgia Malone, an ad exec assigned to her first ever major campaign) who escapes from her daily grind by joining a book club.
Georgia’s at a place in her life that is immediately recognizable. She’s got a demanding, rewarding career that takes up most of her time. Her personal life is in early retirement: she’s a young widow. Her relationship with her husband was romantic and emotionally fulfilling if sexually unstimulating, and Georgia treasures her memories. She’s happy to have had love, and comfortable with the idea of living the rest of her life without it.
Her life is content, but something’s incomplete, even if Georgia's not entirely aware of it. This vague sense of a missing piece is reflected in the tastes of her book club friends. Two of them are tired and bored of reading the acclaimed “smart” books they choose every month. Describing their latest selection, Georgia’s friend Kim says, “I couldn’t get into it. It was dense, too literary, and depressing. I’m so not in the mood for being depressed.” Kim boots up her ereader, dials up the story she's been reading on the side, and shows the book club members what a fun book looks like. (Hint: there are garters and French aristocrats involved.)
As the idea of reading a “dirty” book is introduced to Georgia, the the central question of Savanna Fox’s book is posed: Can something fun also be good for you?
The answer is presented to us in the form of Woody Hanrahan, hockey superstar and the central figure in Georgia’s new ad campaign. Woody is physical, instinctive, sexy, a man comfortable with his appetites and with connecting to women on a sexual level. He’s got a reputation as a gentlemanly ladies man. And Georgia – she might look buttoned up, repressed, and uncomfortable around a virile guy like Woody, but he’s always listened to his gut – to his body. And his body knows there’s a connection between them.
So Georgia is a woman who has known emotional love, but not physical pleasure. Whose brain has been fed “smart” fiction but not inspiring, life-changing storytelling. And in one week, a naughty book, “The Sexual Education of Lady Emma Whitehead,” begins to mirror her own entry into a world where her body’s needs are as important as her mind and her heart’s.
For Woody, sex is the basis for love. He can’t imagine having a deeper, more completing connection than the one he has with Georgia. And between Woody’s adoration and Lady Emma’s schooling, Georgia’s entire life is about to become well-rounded.
Savanna Fox’s THE DIRTY GIRLS BOOK CLUB is at once an examination of what comprises a good relationship, to one’s partner and to one’s self, and also about the power of the books we read to transform and inspire us to walk down paths we wouldn’t find on our own.
So here’s to dirty books. Don’t be afraid to roll up your sleeves and dive in. They just may change your life.
Melanie Murray is a writer and editor, and the moderator of Romantic Reads, BN.com's all-romance, all-the-time community forum. You can follow her on Twitter at @Melanie_Murray and get all the latest Barnes & Noble book news from @BNBuzz.