Oh, my goodness, that was a great read! I read through it once and then went and read it back again, highlighting all the really good parts that really resonated with me as a woman! Wow… Powerful!
Prudence is honest and raw and calls it like it is… Feeling her struggle to relate and heal and grow through personal trauma kept me from putting this book down… From an abusive childhood to a ‘keeping up appearances’ marriage to a mother trying to keep her head above water for the sake of her child to a woman searching for her authentic true nature through rehabilitation. This story allowed a glimpse into the mind of a very special woman who learns to own her behavior and make difficult choices.
Well done, Jen… Well done!
– Ann Hall
I LOVE the book. I find myself racing through chapters to see what’s next (both past and present). I get all consumed in the moment of the chapter and then the questions start gnawing at me. I’m then thrust into the next chapter and have a bit of an “ah ha” moment about Prue and why her journey is shaped the way it is. Of course, most intriguing to me is HOW Prue arrived where she is, how her childhood carved, sculpted, molded and shaped her. The beauty of Prue is that the reader is able to say that her journey didn’t “ruin” her… Her beauty is in the strength and resourcefulness with which she is able to persevere.
– Nancy Sullivan
I inhaled Jen’s manuscript within three days. Prudence, the protagonist, is a remarkable, resilient character. She is a flawed, modern day heroine. At once strong and vulnerable, she will unintentionally break your heart, then repair it again and again. From my perspective, few people can do this in real-life or a literary context. Prue is both a loveable and relatable character. It was a pleasure to say yes to helping Jen create a few scenes and write the outline for this wonderful story.
– Stephanie Kuehn, Screenwriter
I loved the language. Your arrangement of words is so succinct, elegant, and precise. Listening to (even in Siri’s voice) is beautiful. Your way with words is distinct and original. Very much a fingerprint of your unique style. It’s uncommon for a new author to have such an original, authentic way with language, but you did it. You weren’t mimicking anyone. I loved it. Sweet, elegant, and precise. Just a few words to paint reality with color and precision.
I loved how you held back the details of the extent of the abuse that Prue experienced at the hands of the stepfather, and let the reader suspect without certainty. That is such an authentic way of presenting the reality of how that type of revelation often goes down in real life, we see the symptoms in the behavior of the survivor, and wonder, and later it is revealed.
I liked living with Prue through the process of looking at the reality of who her mother was and moving with her as she began giving herself permission to see her mother as a real individual, who made mistakes as we all do. You’ve done that process real. At first, Prue perceived her dead mother as a perfect woman and then as a victim of circumstance and the actions of others and finally as a real woman, beautiful, flawed, culpable but who loved her children with her whole heart. I felt as a reader that I was made part of a process that began at acknowledgment, moved into acceptance and settled in forgiveness. I found that experience to be quite beautiful. The relationship with her brother too was sweet and felt palpable to me. The book captured the time period too. I felt the seventies all around her childhood, in the clothing Prue wore, what her mother wore, and the habits of the parents and their ways of speaking and behaving. You captured the era. You wrote Prue so beautifully. Of course, sex and Prue’s sexiness were factors in the plot, but they weren’t ‘drivers’ they didn’t cause’ they were ‘effect.’ It didn’t seem that you included her sexual experiences gratuitously, or with the intent to titillate, but to illustrate Prue’s experience truthfully. What I mean is that while Prue was a sex addict, her sexual experiences ran the gamut from sweet to passionate, to desperate, to disturbing, to downright disgusting. Like actual sex. And she did these things for reasons that also ran the gamut, for loneliness, for lust, for validation, for sedation, for excitement, comfort, and love. Sex, from a woman’s point of view, rather than a man’s. I saw the proposed cover, and I will admit that I don’t think it’s quite right. You did not write Prue as a caricature, like some housewife of Beverly Hills. You wrote her like every woman. The cover to me suggests something much less complex, less real and less beautiful than what the book contains. On the other hand, I get it that when you move from novel to movie deal, the marketing requires something different, so maybe that’s why. But I think the cover should be understated, elegant and beautiful like Prue. I can tell you this; I am a rather critical reader, I like good literature, I like beautiful language, I like real depth and brutal truth in what I read. A lot of what I read, that is not classic literature or dripping with literary awards, I don’t like very much. But I liked your book very much because it really is good literature. Reading it is an elevating experience. I have always known you were special. This is just one more confirmation of that. Congratulations. Really. You did it.
– Connie Smith
I read A DRESS THE COLOR OF THE SKY. I loved every word.
-Jane Pratt, Editor of xojane.com and xovain, founder of Sassy & Jane magazines.
I read, A Dress the Color of the Sky, a few months ago and its impact on me was such that only now can I begin to express how deeply, and powerfully it affected me. The book takes the reader into the world of addiction in a way that is poignant, descriptive and deeply moving. No matter what the addiction, the situations are always heart-wrenching for both the addicts and those who love them. I felt honored to read about someone else’s experience.
A Dress the Color of the Sky, deals specifically with sex addiction, and those who have no experience with it — naysayers included — will learn how debilitating and very real it is. Those who have experienced it will no longer feel so alone. This book reaffirms how we can grow and change with work and support.
Once you have read A Dress the Color of the Sky, you will not only come away with an understanding of the reality of sex addiction; you will also want to know more about Prue and how her life continues to change.
-Sarah Balkind Adler
A Dress the Color of the Sky, could help people in recovery, as well as people working in recovery. Your novel could help people overcome the fear of seeking help, by providing insight into the experience from a very raw and honest perspective.
-Dario Ghio, MS – Director, Harbor Area Substance Abuse Treatment Center
This is a book that many – many – will relate to and its prose style and episodes have a deep emotional resonance.
– Edward Young
A Dress the Color of the Sky, has a unique voice that grabbed me from the first page and pulled me into Prudence’s sense of self. I was invested in her story almost immediately. Jennifer Irwin crafts a beautiful, emotional, thought provoking story. Readers don’t just read about Prue’s journey, they follow her. They come to understand her as she becomes aware of herself while she accepts and heals from her tumultuous life. This is a raw story that leaves nothing hidden. At times it’s hard to read because of the truth, it contains, at others, I just didn’t want to stop. For readers without experience in addiction or abuse, Prue is still a relatable character. Her strength throughout her life is a reminder that life can be a battle but you have to keep fighting. A DRESS THE COLOR OF THE SKY can make anyone look at their life and see what demons they might be hiding from. The end leaves me wanting to know how Prue continues to fare in her world. I hope with her voice as an author that Jennifer Irwin has more to say.
– Briana Snyder
Your writing is wonderfully engaging, well-written, describing a compelling, conflicted, three-dimensional character with human flaws that are engaging for the reader of women’s fiction. The pages are very well-written on a sentence-to-sentence level. You’re a talented writer with an intriguing narrative.
– R. Foster, Literary agent
A Dress the Color of the Sky, had me mesmerized from the very first page. Prudence was so eloquently depicted, I found myself both laughing out loud, and crying with her many trials and tribulations as they unfolded seamlessly in this novel. Author, Jennifer Irwin, cracks open some of life’s most difficult topics: Sex, Marriage, Divorce, Friends, Money, Addiction and Rehab.
The events that occurred were real and raw, but also funny and endearing. The reader takes a wild ride with Prudence, through the bowels of her deepest darkest moments of addiction and rehab, to the scintillating sexual adventures of her many trysts around the globe. There was never a dull moment in the life of Prudence Aldrich. This true-to-life adventure enthralled me from beginning to end. This could be summer’s hottest read!! Get ready for the next 50 Shades of Grey!
– Cami Evans
There were so many themes that I can relate to in, A Dress the Color of the Sky. I feel like the messages in your book will touch many people and hopefully point them in the direction of a better path that is healthy. You are so brave and careful with your characters. I liked Lily, the best friend, and the grandmother. I despised most of the male characters. But maybe that’s how I like to read…I need a hero and a villain, and you delivered both to me with great aplomb.
I think it will be interesting to see what the world does with this creation as it is singularly a very strong story. I have never experienced a work like this before!
Heartbreaking and heartwarming, A Dress the Color of the Sky, takes readers on a journey of hope and triumph. Through the eyes of “Prudence,” author Jennifer Irwin has written a novel that gives readers an intimate look at the struggles and causes of addiction. Interesting and entertaining, a great read! Go, Prue!!
In the novel, A Dress the Color of the Sky, Jennifer Irwin brings us inside Prudence’s struggle to overcome sex addiction and low self-worth due to childhood abuse. This thought-provoking book is a revealing description of Prue’s childhood and events that bring her to rehab. This is a novel about courage, a mother’s love, struggles and ultimately hope. I loved the reference to “donkey skin” as many of us use it to hide and protect our true selves. I was able to relate to this book on many levels, and I could not put it down. I’m looking forward to many more novels by Jennifer Irwin.
– Tina Dellis
A Dress the Color of the Sky, was such a riveting, powerful, and moving novel. From the moment Prudence began uncovering her past, my sympathy for her grew, and I developed a strong understanding of why she is facing so many hardships. There is not a moment that I was not rooting for her recovery. Through reading about her past, I realized that she possesses admirable strength; because of this, I grew a strong confidence that she can overcome this recovery just as she has overcome the several obstacles of her past. I greatly enjoyed that no matter what kind of struggles each reader will have faced in his or her life, it will be relatable to one of the hardships that are read about in the book. Therefore, Prudence’s strength throughout each phase of her life is not only admirable but is something that I believe will truly help readers believe in their abilities to overcome similar obstacles. Regardless, the amount of pain that Prudence has endured is heartbreaking. However, as her recovery progressed, I was very excited to see that Prudence’s view of herself, of the people in her life, and of her past began to change. Overall, this novel is very compelling and will impact all who read it.
– Melissa Riede
I just finished reading, A Dress the Color of the Sky, and I loved it! I found Prudence to be a very relatable character. Anybody who has ever struggled with addiction can see a bit of themselves in Prudence as you follow her through her journey. Yes, the story starts off a bit confusing but I realized that what I was reading were her own scattered thoughts from her self-described “monkey brain.” As the story progresses, and Prudence works her program, you see a sure-footed confident woman begin to emerge. I’m excited to read the sequel!
– Erika Garcia
A Dress the Color of the Sky, is a raw, emotional and relatable story. I found myself rooting for Prudence throughout her tough childhood as she witnesses so many disturbing things growing up. Prue’s difficult childhood plays a large role in her adult life, but you are never left without hope. I’m looking forward to more from Jennifer Irwin!
– Stacy D. Heim
A Dress the Color of the Sky pulled me in from the first paragraph. It is a compelling and raw story of one woman’s traumatic childhood experiences that lead to a lifetime of poor choices that finally bring her into a journey toward personal redemption. Prudence struggles with her demons in a human and honest way. We can all relate on some level to her striving and wrestling with individual choices and the monumental effort of taking personal responsibility for choosing not be a victim of circumstance anymore.
Following the starts and stops in Prue’s life, I find myself praying that she will finally start and stay on a path that will lead her to peace, self-worth, and self-acceptance. Prudence and her husband are clearly the most developed characters though the reader feels a personal relationship with many of the therapists and co-residents as Pru labors toward recovery during a one-month stint in residential rehab. These people guide her journey, and often I feel as if I am sitting in the room with them. We all struggle or know someone who has struggled with some type of addiction. This novel is sure to grab a variety of readers for a collection of personal reasons.
– Erika Couture
A Dress the Color of the Sky, is a revealing and intimate look at one woman’s battle against sexual addiction. More than that, however, it shows us both the fragility and the strength of the human spirit. Prue is fighting for her life literally and figuratively. We watch her as she slips down the rabbit hole, but we also get to see her fight her way out. She is determined to slay her demons and to create a life of joy. Her determination and resolve, along with her ability to find forgiveness towards those who have wronged her, are admirable. There is a piece of Prue in all of us as we have all, at one time or another, been taunted by self-doubt. Prue is a wise and thoughtful character, and while she makes questionable choices in her life, you are always rooting for her to realize that she is worthy. She is valuable, and she deserves to be happy. A Dress the Color of the Sky, is raw, honest and captivating. You cannot help but be reeled into the storm.
– Lisa Matricardi
A Dress the Color of the Sky, gives powerful insight into the world of an addict. The main character’s addiction is not one openly discussed in most social circles although it is one that most people secretly want to hear about.
Prudence, the main character, is a strong, sensitive, intelligent & highly insightful woman. The reader cannot help but sympathize with her while at the same time, cheering her on. She works hard to overcome her urges that originate from a dark and often innocent place. The reader has a chance to see when & how, as a little girl, her addiction was planted. Her family failed her, but she survived. Prue’s story is an example of how some basic desires can manifest themselves in totally different ways. This is a must read for anyone working with or interested in learning more about addictions…extremely insightful and educational!
– Andrea Schultz Kahrs, MFT
A Dress the Color of the Sky, is a raw and revealing look into the tumultuous life of a woman struggling with sex addiction. Fascinating, funny, sometimes disturbing and very moving – I simply could not put it down. The main character’s candid account of her troubled childhood provides insight into her unconventional and complex adult life. She is forced to battle her inner demons while simultaneously maintaining the facade of a traditional wife and mother. The author writes in a narrative voice that is likable and relatable, making this a truly gratifying read.
– Chris Drum
In the novel, A Dress the Color of the Sky, author Jennifer Irwin, takes the reader on an unforgettable tour of the female sex addict psyche through the voice of the endearing main character, Prudence Aldrich. Jennifer writes with wit, honesty and incredible range. She illuminates the lives of lovesick teenagers, hopeless housewives, depraved socialites and a host of others who has risen from their entitled (yet not) backgrounds only to find themselves undone by the trappings of marriage. This poignant and heartfelt story will knock you out!
– Carolyn Kavanagh
A Dress the Color of the Sky, by Jennifer Irwin is a thought-provoking story of a woman struggling with sexual addiction. This is a controversial subject which has never received any attention that I am aware of. As the author points out, it is an affliction that often has its roots in sexual abuse and harassment. Even though it is a work of fiction, the author demonstrates a thorough knowledge of the subject matter. This topic is very current especially with the rise of sexual abuse surrounding the NFL.
I believe Jennifer is onto something and her book is only the tip of the iceberg.
– Ann L.
Being an 18-year-old girl, I was surprised that I read Jennifer Irwin’s entire novel, A Dress the Color of the Sky, on a 3-hour plane ride. I simply couldn’t put the book down. A Dress the Color of the Sky, is an incredibly intriguing and powerful book. Not only does it touch on every emotion imaginable but also it sucks you into every tiny detail included within. We follow the main character, Prudence, through the strife’s of her past and her present. Prue is struggling with many addictions, but her sex addiction is the most prevalent. We feel the hurt, the disgust, and the sadness right along side Prudence as she is going through therapy at Serenity Hills. Prudence’s character is written in such a way that you identify with her as if she is one of your best friends in real life. You want to grab her hand and help her on her journey of finding personal clarity. In fact, the reader feels this realistic connection with each character whether it’s with contempt or adoration. This book is a depiction of the good and the bad in the real world. It is relatable to people who haven’t and couldn’t even imagine going through half the stuff that Prue has gone through. I highly recommend A DRESS THE COLOR OF THE SKY to anyone, any age.
– Kara Davis – Age 18
Jennifer Irwin has penned a thought-provoking book, A Dress the Color of the Sky. Although the media has bantered about the subject matter of late, that coverage skirts the reality of this addiction. Never has it been delved into with the detail found in this book.
Prudence arrives at Serenity Hills angry, ashamed and fragmented. Gradually, the reader learns the unspeakable past Prue left behind. We are at once moved, repulsed and sympathetic. Following Prue through therapy from her shredded state to a vision of strength and hope, we see her tormented childhood, tortured marriage and ultimately, her inner beauty.
The other characters in the book are equally strong and realistic. The therapists are caring listeners who create a milieu for Prue’s emotional growth. Prue’s husband Nick is a broken man, unfeeling, cold, and hopelessly addicted, who gives lip service to Prue’s attempt at healing while continuing to manipulate her. Amongst her male antagonists, it becomes clear he is the last straw that pushed her to the brink and into sex addiction. Their son, Christian, is a warm, insightful boy who gives Prue unconditional love and sage advice. The other clients at Serenity Hills are needy themselves, but gracious in encouraging their companions on their journey toward recovery. They recognize strengths in, offer helpful advice to, and are present for, each other.
A Dress the Color of the Sky, is a powerful book not only about sex addiction, but also about the impact people have on each other, both good and bad, and the resilience of the human spirit.
– Jan Hargraves
I am impressed with your writing skills and the content of your subject matter. The reader clearly understands the main character and her tumultuous journey. Congratulations! You have such a way of keeping things on track without jumping around a lot. I am very impressed and think, A Dress the Color of the Sky, is going to be a best seller and has the possibility of being picked up by Hollywood and made into a feature film. Your book has everything they look for in the way of context that would make it a viable movie project.
A Dress the Color of the Sky, is insightful, gutsy, relatable and well written. I loved this book!
– Jen H.
I had chills two sentences in. A Dress the Color of the Sky is profound, vivid and moving on every level. I have been clinging (let’s be real – crying and at times laughing out loud) to every page.
– Madison Stevens
A Dress the Color of the Sky, is a book on the human condition. It is a story about love, betrayal, betrayal because of wanting love and wanting to be seen. It is a story about broken people because of their haunted past. Good people that do bad things it’s a story about faith. It’s a story about hope and courage. This book is….The Human Condition.
All I can say is, wow. What great writing, and so compelling. I found myself so emotional, all over the place, while reading, A Dress the Color of the Sky. Thank you for writing this book. Well done.
– Susan Whitman
I really enjoyed A Dress the Color of the Sky. It is well written, beautifully paced, and very emotional. I was drawn into Prudence’s story. I thought the author, Jennifer Irwin, did a wonderful job of evoking the time and place in which she lived. And, the sadness of a young person not feeling the support of her parents.
– Peggy Fuller