This is a short novella snipped into 6 parts where the first part is half the novella's length and it's the one I liked the least. Plain girl is about, well... Janice, a plain girl, set in 40s - 50s America. What she has going for her is her search for happiness and her promiscuity. Although details about her are sparse as there's too much going on in this short text - multiple conversation about fascism and communism, several lovers - it's hard to then connect with Janice, although on all account she's a likable character.
The first part drags on with mostly tell and no show, the dialogue lacks the subtlety and subtext that all the other parts do have and, frankly, it's all over the place. I struggled trying to make sense of what was going on as I was taken through different scenes and time frames along with different memories or characters, which was all in one continuous narrative. Certainly unusual considering how well-executed all the following parts were (also with regards to tightness of prose), and where the magic of the story lay. I'm glad I didn't abandon the book as I'm wont to do when it's not working, because I could't put it down later on.