Critique of “Dressed For What’s Next” by Gabrielle Magnanii

Posted on: September 4, 2011
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Dressed For What’s Next is a story about resilience both in a psychological and functional way.

The struggle of this protagonist is easy to see, making conflict of the story clear from page one. The writer deftly reveals the adversity in subtle but powerful ways, such as when Sheila lashes out at one of the girls trying to help her, and only because she perceived what was a minor comment to be threatening. Dressed For What’s Next in this way gives us a look into what life as a survivor might be like. What adversity Sheila has survived we are never told, but whether it is domestic violence, or sexual abuse or both, this story is clearly a tale about resilience. Not only does Sheila start to bounce back by accepting help from the Dress From Success office, but she also overcomes her own fears at the end of the story, in order to help the next survivor after her start her recovery process.

The story follows a slow pace, which can be beneficial given the glacial speed of the calm feel of the situation the story is describing. However, certain areas of the story can benefit from moving quicker.

Most importantly, Dressed For What’s Next shows readers the importance of social support. Social support has been shown to be one of the strongest predictive factors for resilience. From cancer patients to victims of recurrent political violence, research has shown that whether or not victims have social support determines how resilient they are and will continue to be. Amy, Cathy and Gail serve as shining examples for the importance of having social support, not only for psychological help but functional help as well. In Dressed For What’s Next, these girls help the survivor, Sheila, by providing a calm, accepting environment but also in functional ways, from reviewing her resume to improving her wardrobe.

-Watch Me Bounce Editorial Staff

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