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I Wish I Had a Red Dress (Idlewild #2)
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I Wish I Had a Red Dress (Idlewild #2)

4.06  ·  Rating Details ·  2,597 Ratings  ·  106 Reviews
Since Joyce Mitchell was widowed five years ago, she's kept herself occupied by running the Sewing Circus, an all-girl group she founded to provide badly needed services to young women at risk, many of whom are single mothers. But some nights, home alone, she has to admit that something is missing. And soon she may not even have the Sewing Circus to fill up her life, as th ...more
Kindle Edition, 323 pages
Published July 9th 2002 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published July 1st 2001)
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Nia Forrester
Jun 30, 2016 Nia Forrester rated it really liked it
Oh my gosh, I think I read this twice without knowing it!
Nov 09, 2012 Leslie rated it liked it
I loved everything about this book,the prose, the characters, the story with a couple of exceptions.

The idea that it was somehow within men's purview to protect women from other men. As someone who has had to claw tooth and nail from the maw of ruin all the while being told that all I needed to do was find some man to protect me, I have to say that's one of the most dangerous ideas ever proffered from a feminist that I've ever heard. It was only when I started ignoring all that nonsense and too
Jul 06, 2013 Ginger rated it liked it
This is a sequel to What Looks Like Crazy on An Ordinary Day. I loved Crazy and enjoyed Red Dress. I am enjoying Pearl Cleage as an author - she reminds me a lot of Terri McMillan. Red Dress is the story of Joyce - a young widow in a Michigan town. She is a social worker and starts "The Circus" - a support group for young black women - teaching them to be "free" women. Enjoyable read.
Feb 02, 2011 hsiek rated it liked it
Cleage's previous work (What Looks Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day) was 100 times better than Red Dress. This book was slow, with a lazy plot.
Jan 08, 2010 Debbie rated it it was ok
This was one of those books that raises important issues and then can't deliver on giving a nuanced and realistic storyline or outcome. A youngish widow lives in an all black Michigan resort town. In the old days before segregation this was a thriving middle class community. Now all the teenage girls have babies and meet at a place called the Circus run by aforementioned widow. She meets a long cool drink of water, but battles with him so about her freedom and women's rights it is hard to see wh ...more
Juany Ruiz
I was interested in reading this second book since I loved the first one "what looks like crazy on an ordinary day " but was disappointed. This book was slow in the beginning. She was trying to change the girls mindset but never included any men to speak to the girls. She had financial troubles that never got resolved. I normally like her books but this I did not find interesting.
Blow Pop
Jul 18, 2015 Blow Pop rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed, 2015
Content warnings: Domestic violence, domestic abuse, abuse, threats of violence, mentions of rape and what constitutes rape

I THINK that's all the content warnings. Despite them (or maybe because of those things) this was REALLY GOOD. And as it turns out I own the book that's technically before this (which I just found out). But despite this being a duo I don't think you need to read the first to really understand this one since everything is more or less explained in this book and you're not fee
Apr 17, 2015 Betty rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Novel appreciators.
Title: I Wish I Had a Red Dress
Author: Pearl Cleage
Series: Idlewild #2 (I did not realize this until I was 100 pages into the book - otherwise I would have started with Book 1.)
Genre: I originally saw this on a list of romance novels by African-American women. If this is a romance novel, it definitely leans toward the "novel" side - trade edition, fairly serious subject material, good prose, not a big focus on the erotic. If you were asking me, I would probably just call it "fiction."
Setting: A
Mahoghani 23
May 29, 2014 Mahoghani 23 rated it really liked it
This book related to the struggles of women and how one woman changed her life to help others. I enjoyed this book because it spoke on the issues in the black community but did not dwell on drugs. Joyce is a strong, black woman that's trying to change the lives of young women by making them independent instead of thinking they're some man's punching bag. She gave them hope, courage and taught them to resolve situations for themselves.

I like Joyce because she kept her opinions out of the situatio
Jan 09, 2016 Leaguez rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I love this book. You always get the feeling that the second one can't hold up to the first, until you experience them both. This book surely held up its end to the series. I picked up a lot of lessons in this book that I will carry with me throughout my life. I surely underestimated this book. One thing that Joyce has repeated throughout the series "Breathing in, I know that I am breathing in. Breathing out, I smile.' I think that is one of the most important things to carry out in life." Anoth ...more
Mar 14, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
O.K., so one day I'll return this book to my good friend Val. Although, I enjoyed it because I was familiar with the characters, it wasn't as well written as the What looks like crazy on an ordinary day!
Liked it, but wish I had known to read the previous book in this series which was "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day." I don't like reading books out of order!
Rhonda Lyons
Aug 12, 2009 Rhonda Lyons is currently reading it
Read if you want to learn how to be a "FREE WOMAN"
Nardsbaby Reader
Dec 19, 2013 Nardsbaby Reader rated it it was amazing
Our Own Reality

Joyce Mitchell is a devoted social worker, an optimist and a widow. Since the loss of her husband, she founded the Sewing Circus - a place for young women where they can receive assistance, job counseling, GED classes, daycare, and development into becoming ‘free’ women. Joyce and the Sewing Circus have been in business for two years and now they have to find a way to keep the program funded.

Nate Anderson is new to Idlewood. He’s the Assistant Principal at the high school. Friend
Mar 30, 2013 Chrisiant rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction, aa-authors
I am again impressed at Pearl Cleage's ability to write what feel at times like pretty fluffy sisterhood-ladytimes novels, but manage to confront very real issues of lack of education/opportunity for black youth in economically depressed communities, gender-based violence, and systemic racial and gender inequality, as a matter of course. Cleage does this without being preachy or academic about the issues, just acknowledging their obvious roles in the lives of her characters in a deft and matter- ...more
Apr 04, 2014 Mary-Ann rated it really liked it
If you are like me, and despite having lived your entire life in Michigan, you are unaware of an historic and popular black resort community in Idlewild MI, then you might appreciate this book just for that bit of enlightenment.
Jun 21, 2015 Xiaxia50 rated it really liked it
Pearl had so many things I hope to remember to quote when I want to sound somewhat intelligent and in the know.. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this in my backyard under a tree... Early in the moring
Consistent thought-provoking

I love Cleage's work. She has the one liners that you happen upon and they make their mark on you and what is better than a book that sticks with you?
Rosalynn Ml
Aug 16, 2015 Rosalynn Ml rated it liked it
It was an okay book, but it took forever to get to the thick of things. I skipped chapters and it still seemed to drag on a little longer than I wanted.
Jul 10, 2014 Ashanté rated it liked it
I enjoyed the book....entertaining, thought provoking at times, and a quick read. I love Cleage's writing style....easy to read and relate to.
Sep 15, 2014 Melissa rated it liked it
Decent story about a black woman trying to make a difference in young women's lives and choices.
Dec 28, 2014 RenishaRenewed rated it liked it
Started this a few days ago but forgot to update it here. It was ok.
Naeemah Huggins
Dec 12, 2014 Naeemah Huggins rated it really liked it
Read it a while ago. Worth the read!
May 04, 2014 Erica added it
Pearl Cleage feeds my soul.
Irene Marston
Sep 09, 2015 Irene Marston rated it it was amazing
this is a awesome read didnt wnant to put it down it is funny and sad great read
Aug 29, 2011 Gayle rated it really liked it
Pearl Cleage writes like she is having a conversation with you and has a wonderful voice. I read her first novel "What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day" (1998), because it was set in Idlewild, Michigan and loved it! Idlewild used to be a resort town for affluent African Americans. This book, though not a sequel, is also located in Idlewild which has fallen on hard times. I love a book that leaves me with thoughts that I will remember long after I finish it -- this is one of those books.
Renata Fossen Brown
Aug 16, 2015 Renata Fossen Brown rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Bryan R.
Dec 08, 2014 Bryan R. rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Should be made into a feature film.
Nov 11, 2010 Melisa rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction-adult
Enjoyed this book the second time around as well, perhaps more then when I read it the first time years ago. The imagery of the older woman's heart breaking is beautifully symbolized. The explanation of the difference women feel vs men in this world regarding safety is also very well put. I listened to this on tape and perhaps the narrators voice brought it to life so much better then my imagination. She did a WONDERFUL job portraying the different characters.
R. Jenkins
Jan 04, 2011 R. Jenkins rated it it was amazing
I've read this book many times. Each time I read it, I want to reach for a highlighter to remember a portion or to share it with my daughter. So far, it is my favorite novel by Pearl Cleage. This book is so powerful that you can almost start reading at any point and get inspiration. I always feel inspired when I read it. I really like the way that the author includes each chapter's title somewhere in that chapter.
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Pearl Cleage (born December 7, 1948) is an African-American author whose work, both fiction and non-fiction, has been widely recognized. Her novel What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day was a 1998 Oprah Book Club selection. Cleage is known for her feminist views, particularly regarding her identity as an African-American woman. Cleage teaches drama at Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia.

Pearl Cl
More about Pearl Cleage...

Other Books in the Series

Idlewild (2 books)
  • What Looks Like Crazy on an Ordinary Day (Idlewild, #1)

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“Sometimes the contradictions in their lives are so intense they seem manufactured for teaching life lessons, but it's hard to keep up with what you're supposed to be learning in that terrible moment between defiance and despair when all your energy is going into figuring out why it took so long to name the thing that's driving you crazy. At those moments, the best I can do is keep quiet and say a little prayer, which is what I did.” 2 likes
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