*Major Spoilers Near the End*
I am in an emotional quandary entirely of my own making. I try to stride
proudly around, claiming I'll read anything once, trying to eschew the
all-too-common academic trend of looking down on popular culture or
books that everyone is reading. So I make sure there are one or two
recently popular books on my reading list at any one time. I'm
And yet, when it comes to chick lit, I
always feel faintly ashamed. (Or James Patterson, but that's an entirely
different story.) I should be proud to take any book I'm reading with
me out of the house, read it in public, shoot down anyone who questions
my taste with a haughty "have you seen how many books I read in a year? I
deserve some fluff too!" And yet, at times, my courage fails me. How
can I be a serious academic when I read chick lit in public? (It's the
in public part that nags at me sometimes.)
That's one part of it. I felt faintly embarrassed reading this book.
other part is that this particular piece of chick lit is not that good.
Put aside the occasional missing comma, or the use of "disinterested"
when the author means "uninterested," if you can. (I can't. Particularly
More importantly, I get bloody impatient with these
heroines who never make a single interesting decision in the entire
book! They are swept along, they get into trouble because they never DO
anything, and all their troubles come from their own damned passivity.
It's very hard to feel sympathetic to that. If, just once, the heroine
actually mulled over a painful decision and then DID SOMETHING ABOUT IT,
instead of deciding to delay decision until it has been made for her by
inane external circumstance, I might perk up my attention.
Difficult is interesting. A certain amount of dithering is permissible. But 410 pages of it? Too much.
I didn't like Getting Rid of Matthew, not because it's chick lit, but
because the main character made me crazy. And at the end, the readiness
of certain characters to say all is forgiven was insane. Okay,
the ex-wife whose husband you cheated with but whose friend you became
under false pretenses decides she wants her friend back? Maybe.
for your ex-lover's son, who you smooched once, long before he found
out you had been sleeping with his father for 4 years, to be ready to
forgive and forget and make you a cake? After one coffee date? Must have
been one hell of a coffee and kiss, to make up for all general ickiness
and the prospect of years and years of running into his father and
knowing his girlfriend used to sleep with that.
was the sound of my credulity hitting the breaking point. And there
wasn't anything in the book that made me want to ignore the nonsensical
ending and remember it with anything approaching fondness. Is it to much
to ask for characters that occasionally do things, and then, for
anything approaching realistic consequences?