Yes, My Favorite Authors Write Chick Lit

by on March 8th, 2015
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I thoroughly enjoy reading the genre of fiction referred to as chick lit. I just don’t care for the name.

I realize this genre often gets a bad rap in literary circles, though I’m not exactly sure why. Aside from the name, which I’ll admit is insulting, most of the books I’ve read in that category are amusing and sometimes compelling. Yes, that’s right…I said compelling.

Jennifer Egan, the 2011 Pulitzer Prize winner for fiction for A Visit From the Goon Squad recently gave several interviews where she insulted chick lit authors by calling them “banal and derivative,” claiming these authors should “shoot higher.” She took particular offense with Sophie Kinsella, an English author who penned the Shopaholic series of books. These were not my favorite books by far and I found the main character a bit nerve-wracking, but her other work, especially The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me, Can You Keep a Secret and Twenties Girl were witty and charming. As a writer, I’m proud to say Kinsella is a role model. Making people laugh is a very difficult thing to do and she manages that quite nicely. Who wouldn’t want to emulate that?

Another role model and favorite author, Jennifer Weiner, has taken the attack on chick lit authors to heart with her snappy tweets, such as “How seriously should I take an article that thinks that chick lit authors chose and embrace the term ourselves?” and “Dear literary writers: hate on me/chick lit all you want, but please stop making fun of my last name. Take Egan’s advice. Shoot higher.” Weiner is a terrific, witty writer, and I look forward to her new releases with the same intensity as I did with Sidney Sheldon’s back in the day.

The literary world has always been filled with snobs who put down the work of other authors they deem unfit for the industry. Writing seems to be the only art form that doesn’t respect its participants, loves to criticize, and kicks its artists to the curb. However, I admire anyone who can write and publish a book because I know how difficult that is. It may not mean I’ll buy it or want to read it, but I respect the art and the effort. After all, some authors write for the literary few, and some write for the masses. What’s wrong with that?

I’m proud to say I am a reader with varied tastes. Sometimes I read Virginia Woolf, and sometimes I read Helen Fielding. It depends on my mood.

Perhaps Egan would call me a Philistine for defending chick lit. And that’s OK. I don’t mind at all.


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