Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Chick Lit

Ok everyone. I'll admit it. Hell, I feel so strongly about this I could shout it from rooftops. I hate, loathe, chick lit. The whole genre is a black hole of suck. I recently went to Borders and was reminded of my amazement at the complete shit that can get published. What really kills me though is the fact that these books are actually best sellers. It's like women don't have brains. It's like all women ever want to read about are cutesy girls that are smart and have really cool jobs (always as attorneys, in PR or advertising) and they meet men who also have cool jobs (in finance, or are high powered attorneys, etc). I'm not saying these are bad professions, but they appear so much in these novels that they are reduced to cliche.

Last summer, because I was trying to go easy on my brain (mistake), I read Emily Giffin's New York Times bestseller Something Borrowed. Ick. Ick, ick, ick. And yet, I could not put the damn thing down, though mostly because it was so ridiculous. I'm sure most people have either read or heard of this book, but I'll refresh your memory. Rachel is a self-proclaimed plain jane who, on her thirtieth birthday, wantonly sleeps with her so-called best friend Darcy's fiance. She spends the duration of the book justifying her actions: telling the reader how horrible and self centered Darcy is, how Dex (the fiance du jour) actually wanted Rachel all along, how nothing in Darcy's life ever went wrong, how pathetic her own life is, how awful her job is. Blah, blah, blah. I get the idea that Rachel just sucks as a person. She is thirty years old! She is obviously smart, and obviously pretty. The only thing keeping Rachel in the shadow of Darcy is Rachel. And why would Rachel be friends with Darcy if she was so horrible? Yet women love this novel. Why? Because we all have horrible self esteem, and always compare ourselves to our friends.

Anyway, this is not the only horrible chick-lit on the market. All these books are the same. Girl meets guy. Something happens that she can't really be with the guy. Time passes. Girl gets guy anyway. And on and on with the dumb fantasies. There are always other factors: the impossible, jackass boss. The snarky, stuck-up friend. Can't someone write something different? Jodi Picoult tried. She ended up writing twenty-some-odd novels that all follow a particular Picoult formula involving a crime, a cop, a lawyer, and a catharsis (in some kind of order). Other chick lit involves coming of age, being in college, first love, blah blah blah. Everything is sunny in the end. Love always exists.

In short, chick-lit is like bad TV translated into a codex with a foofy cover, all written in plain language with bursts of sentences you know the author thought was genius but actually don't make sense. Here are a few gems ripped from Something Borrowed (only because I refuse to re-read any other awful chick-lit I've ever read...sadly I own this travesty of American Literature):

"It is both good and bad at the same time, like drinking too much Starbucks coffee" (85).
-- um, hello, namedrop much? and why is drinking too much coffee good and bad? What a terrible, terrible line. How did her editor let her get away with this?--

"We cross the beach parking lot and climb over the dune, hesitating for a second to take our first collective glimpse of the ocean...The view is thrilling. It almost makes me forget that I slept with Dex" (77)
--Oh please. This is classic telling instead of showing. The view is thrilling. That's nice, how about a little description? But please no, because Giffin's idea of description is talking about Dex's chiseled shoulders. So unoriginal. Also, why does she tag on "it almost makes me forget that I slept with Dex"? Thanks. Like we forgot. Like it's not every other sentence out of this exhausting character's mouth.--

Time to stop. We have brains. We shouldn't be reading this crap. Can't someone, some WOMAN, write an intelligent book, please? OK, time for me to breathe for a minute. Oh yeah, and study.

1 comment:

  1. amen. I'd be embarrassed to be seen in public with one of these books. Not that any of the jacket art tries to be subtle, but really- pink and an engagement ring? someone said it was weird I have red dragon, silence of the lambs, AND hannibal in the trunk of my car, but even hannibal lecter isn't as bad as the vile women of chick lit.