Chic Lit : Literature :: Cheerleading : Sports

Here's an SAT analogy- chic lit:literature :: cheerleading:sports. Depending on who you are dictates what this means to you. Personally, I see cheerleading as more of an activity than a true blue sport, just as I see chic lit as a sort of a fun writing activity than actual literature. May some people find it enjoyable? Sure. Are there words on paper? Yup. Is there a plot and some characters? Technically, yes. But is it a genre that deserves bonafide accolades? At this point in it's scope, I think not.

I'll admit- I was in my late teens when the whole chic lit saturation began. I read Bridget Jone's Diary, The Nanny Diaries, Sex and the City, and The Girl's Guide to Hunting and Fishing (rest assured I was also highbrowing it with Dostoyevski, Fitzgerald, and Austen). These chic lit pioneers had some definite chutzpah, though, finally talking about sex, body image, and the whole professional glass ceiling issue in ways that hadn't yet been done. But then, people caught on to the marketability and everything went to hell. Jennifer Weiner named one of her books Good in Bed, for Christ's sake. While being a great lay is nothing to be ashamed of, using it as the title of your novel doesn't exactly scream, "Nominate me for a Pulitzer!" All of a sudden your novel could be at the top of the bestseller's list if you wrote about a twenty-something year old woman who was desperately trying to stay thin, find a husband, and take the corporate world be storm. Depth, character development, and originality? Nah, unnecessary when you have Prada, bitchy colleagues, and the hot guy down the hall.

Chic lit lost every ounce of credibility when its semi-original founders started turning out absolute crap. Helen Fielding's follow ups Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason and Olivia Joules and the Overactive Imagination were simply recycled ideas. Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin churned out several barely mediocre chic lit books, hitting absolute rock bottom with their sequel to the Nanny Diaries last year (I only read it because it was free to reviewers on Amazon Vine). Chic Lit is a dying horse that desperately needs to be put out of its misery.

Not convinced? One of those who "read for fun?" Fine, fine, fine. Try one of these instead:


  1. good call on the curtis sittenfeld. yes, i am reading your blog. no pressure though. i'm excited to read some of the other books you've mentioned! p.s. this is emily butson, since it doesn't show my last name and i don't have a blogger account (at least i don't think i do)

  2. Yay, thanks for reading- it's not the easiest to recruit people. Have you read American Wife but Curtis Sittenfeld? I wasn't sure if I was going to like it, but really did.