It’s not deja vu. We’re launching another Debutante Ball author book this week, back to back with last week’s awesome launch of Lisa Alber’s KILMOON.
I’m not a fashionista. Like, at all. Welllllll. I have developed a bit of a purse thing. Specifically a Kate Spade purse thing. And then there’s my shoe thing. Not heels, though. No one would ever mistake me for someone who shops a lot.
Susan novel isn’t about fashion, though. It’s about far more than the vintage clothing store that serves as the centerpiece of the novel and of the community of women (and drag queens, natch) who convene there.
The piece of the story that I most enjoyed was its portrayal of female friendships.
Novels or movies that bother to depict female friendships (most don’t) don’t often get them right. Not to say that female friendships aren’t complex. I think it’s safe to say they can be, just like any relationship.
In Vintage, Violet, the 30-something shop owner, develops a friendship with April, the 18-year-old who buys and then returns a wedding dress (never a good sign) to her store. Violet already counts a much older woman from her community as one of her best friends. And then Amithi, the woman cleaning out her closets and her life at midlife, rounds out the group. It’s Violet and April who have the most fraught relationship, starting with Violet’s jealousy of April’s burgeoning new life.
Jealousy and competition between friends is one of the things I’m interested in as I’m writing my work-in-progress. The characters who started talking to me were actually in direct competition back in high school—long distance runners competing in races—and their friendship didn’t survive being pitched against one another.
But I know for a fact that you can be green with envy over something happening to a friend and still be proud and happy for that friend. (I wrote about it not that long ago.) I happen to think it’s a sign of maturity if you can feel both and not just allow the jealousy to consume you.
The women of Vintage don’t let pettiness creep into the community they build. They support one another. They actually find new and amazing ways to let each other into their lives. And that’s the kind of female friendships I see in real life all the time. See? Vintage, even with its delightful vignettes about clothing and the lives the clothes have led, isn’t just about clothes. It’s about the women whose lives have intersected through the shop and all its contents. That’s a lot of stories about women. I could listen to those all day, couldn’t you?
What are your favorite (vintage?) books about women’s friendships?
Tomorrow is Susan Gloss’s launch for Vintage. It’s a fun read filled with characters who find, if not always what they were looking for, a few surprises in the bargain. Stick around, try some things on. Going to be a fun week.