Chick lit and escapisim
I have been reading a lot of chick lit recently. After struggling through A. S. Byatt, and undergoing a significant amount of family drama, I couldn’t bring myself to start anything more strenuous than Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger and Something Blue by Emily Giffin.
Now that I live with my boyfriend, reading chick lit is somewhat of a struggle. I couldn’t do it at all for the first few weeks, only venturing to break out the books with pastel covers and cleverly-named heroines when he wasn’t around. Now, I’m a little more comfortable, only because he seems to find it hilarious that with all of my English education, sometimes all I want is to read a trashy book.
“Is it, like, a rebellion?” he asked this weekend. “Is it like, ‘Oh, I could read Dickens, but I’m going to be bad and read trash instead?’”
I had to think about this for a while, but I eventually concluded that no, it wasn’t that. Though chick lit might not exactly top required reading lists worldwide, it does have its merits—one of them being accessibility, and another being a reassuring conformity to genre. No matter what happens during the course of any given chick lit novel, the reader can relax into the plot, knowing that it will end happily.
In Something Blue, the heroine has cheated on her fiancé only to have the fiancé run off with her best friend. Not only that, but she finds herself pregnant with the guy she cheated on, who quickly flees the picture. It is impossible to imagine that this woman, who up until now has shown herself to be shallow, delusional and self-centered, could ever come out of this situation intact.
In Everyone Worth Knowing, the main character quits her banking job and is thrust into the high-end P.R. world, surrounded by anorexia, cocaine and celebrity gossip. She finds herself a target of a vicious gossip columnist and trying to figure out a way to save her best friend from marrying a party boy.
Of course, everything works out fine in the end. They both find love, they both solve many of their problems, and they both live happily ever after. As well they should; this is chick lit, after all, and that sort of thing is expected. But Weisberger and Giffin are such good writers that you don’t mind the ride to entirely predictable endings.
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