The Girls Club

Bywater Books 

Author:  Sally Bellerose ISBN:   978-1-932859-78-2   Publication:  September 201 1  Price: $14.95

The Girls Club by Sally Bellerose

“One of our finest writers gives us this best yet portrait of a working class, lesbian coming out in the early 70s—Bellerose knows what to do with history—give it a body, desires, the wonder, fun, lust and longings of the human heart. Tough and tender, this is a family story in the truest sense. The Girls Club is simply a fine novel, which is a joy to read and Sally Bellerose is a writer of great skill and great heart.” —Joan Nestle, author of and co-founder of the Lesbian Herstory Archives

The Girls Club is incredible—fierce, sexy and wise. Reading it will help you get through almost anything with more of your humanity intact. Plus, it’s a blast.” —Susan Stinson author of Venus of Chalk

“Riveting, gripping, unputdownable, The Girls Club grabbed me by the throat from the very first page . . . I’d follow this enormously talented writer to the ends of the earth.” —Lesléa Newman, author of Heather Has Two Mommies and The Reluctant Daughter

Sisterhood. The buzzword of the seventies, the key to women’s liberation. But for Catholic working class girls like Marie, Renee, and Cora Rose LaBarre, sisterhood is a word that covers a multitude of attitudes. They’re best friends, worst enemies, greatest supporters and biggest detractors.

Set in the decade of opening doors, The Girls Club follows the three sisters as they love, argue, and struggle their way through adolescence to womanhood, taking in religion, illness, parenting, sexuality, drugs, and rock ‘n roll on the way.

Sally Bellerose was awarded a Fellowship in Literature from the National Endowment for the Arts based on an excerpt from this book. The manuscript won the Bywater Prize for Fiction and was a finalist for the James Jones Fellowship, the Thomas Wolfe Fiction Prize, and the Bellwether Endowment. Ms. Bellerose lives in western Massachusetts. This is her first novel.

12 Responses to The Girls Club

  1. Carol Williford says:

    Just finished the book. It is of the “could not put it down” variety. A beautifully written tome of an humorous yet poignant life of Cora Rose.

  2. Janet Aalfs says:

    This is a fantastic read — I didn’t want the book to end. Ms. Bellerose captures the feel of an era, and tells an original and much-needed story. Her dialogue is exquisite, and her insights about life inspiring. I’m so glad that this book is in the world!!!

  3. Oonagh C. Doherty says:

    I found The Girls Club unputdownable.

    First of all, it’s funny as hell, and I love any book which can make me laugh as this one did.

    Secondly, the characters are so real. Some of them manage to do fairly awful things, and yet are not judged, but recognized as complex and often good people. That’s a really important and unique quality. The main character, Cora Rose, manages to claw herself out of a really rough spot in life, and deal with some seriously bad luck, but does so without self-pity, or condemnation of others, and without hating her life or her kid or anybody. Joe is a sympathetic character though he’s kind of a shit at times, but Cora Rose doesn’t ever let go of the good in him. The novel’s narrative voice never hates Joe or labels him in order to toss him in some kind of garbage can. Pretty amazing work.

    Lastly, who writes about normal people these days in a normal way? Nobody! Most serious “realistic” novels (vs pure escapist fiction) today are about the tribulations of the highly educated upper middle classes. And TV is about some rich fake world. The Girls Club describes American life – the life most of us really live – which is never explored in the mainstream media.

    Congratulations, Sally Bellerose. My only question is: When’s the next novel coming, because I want to read that too.

    • Wow – thanks Oonagh. Such a thoughtful positive critique. Really appreciated. I’m hoping to have the book of linked short stories I’m working on done within the year – perhaps overly optimistic. oosallyb

  4. Jen Daniele says:

    According to my Kindle, I read 76% of The Girls Club in one shot and I’m not a fast reader. Definitely hard to put this book down. Your lush descriptions and depth of the characters make me feel like I’m right there experiencing all the drama. You really nail the emotional relationships between Cora Rose and all the other characters, as well as the anxiety of somehow trying to reconcile who you really are with the ‘good Catholic’ you’ve been told you’re supposed to be. It all rings achingly true.

    As a writer struggling to find my voice, it’s truly inspiring to read such beautiful writing. I’d go on, but I really need to get back to my Kindle now. 😀

    • Thanks Jen, A great comment to find first thing this morning. I am off to a writing group and your kind words will certainly put me in the mood to try and write “true” characters and relationships. Happy Writing. I’ll be looking for your work. sallyb

      • Jen Daniele says:

        You’re so welcome and you don’t need to try. You know people and transmogrify that knowledge into vivid, engaging characters in a very entertaining way. It’s a gift a writer either has or doesn’t. Obviously, you have it. Please continue running with it!

        I haven’t published much fiction yet (major lack of confidence), but I do write reviews and features for (my handle is The Book Slave) so I don’t forget how to form cohesive sentences while searching for the courage to show anyone what really goes on in my imagination. 😉

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