Friday, September 08, 2006

This is Chick Lit edited by Lauren Baratz- Logsted

The genre of fiction known as "chick-lit" has been a lightning rod for debate in the world of literature, raising questions such as Is chick-lit really literature or just harmless fluff? Is this really an accurate portrayal of the lives of modern women? Eighteen renowned authors--including Jennifer Coburn, Raelynn Hillhouse, Harley Jane Kozak, Cara Lockwood, and Rachel Pine--weigh in with the best of chick-lit--proving that this genre deserves as much, or more, respect as any other. In addition to their story, each author elaborates on her feelings about the 'chick-lit' label, and recommends literary fiction writers that have inspired them.

Some time ago a book titled "This is not Chick-Lit" was published. Well not much of a surprise to me, but quite a few authors of Chick-Lit were upset. Well the finished product of some up in arms Chick-Lit authors? A great book titled "This is Chick-Lit", and I've had the honor of reading this book (or most of it) and posting this review.
This book is a combined effort of 18 different authors. Each of them writing very different stories, each their own. At the beginning of each of their stories they give a brief description of what Chick-Lit means to them. Not only that but there is also a portion of this book, in the back, called 'Reaching Across the Aisle' which is each author recommending a book by a literary author they think their readers would enjoy. I love this!
I've only read 7 of the 18 stories so far, but I though maybe since there are so many stories I would break up the review to a two or three part thing. Sound good? Great! Okay, here we go.
Some I liked, some I didn't, lets be honest no matter what genre you read your never going to like it all.

Two Literary Chicks by Jennifer Coburn

(I won't be posting what each author wrote about Chick-Lit, but as I think this author summed it up perfectly I'll just post her thoughts.)

"As a feminist, I find the attack on chick-lit more than a bit disheartening. Is this where we are-one group of women writers mocking another, deeming it's work irrelevant? Are women really criticizing each other about what they read?! And author recently commented that the term chick-lit sounds as if the writing is about, for and by women, nothing more. Nothing more?! Why isn't that enough?! I love chick-lit and am proud to be associated with this genre. People who don't appreciate it should stop moaning about the relevance of chick-lit and simply spend their time reading what they like."

Very good story. About two women who were in a writing group together in college, neither really liking the others work. Years later they cross each other on the street and make some small talk. One is a published author of a very successful book the other has a great book written but is struggling to get it published. Through different events they end up getting to know each other better and liking each others work. As well as helping.
Although I think it was well written and a good story I also felt it was inconclusive. Your left wondering about Marley at the end to much. I just wish it was tied up a little better in the end.
But I will definitely read this author again.

The Infidelity Diet by Harley Jane Kozak

Gripping. I really enjoyed this one and it was ended very well for a short story.
About a woman that starts to wonder about her husbands faithfulness to her. She's been married for quite awhile, and they've just both grown so comfortable. Long nights at work and some thoughts start to crowd in. Looking for advice from all different friends make for an entertaining view on woman's thoughts on cheating men. I'm not totally sure what we were meant to think of Christopher (husband) in the end, but I would love to read more of this author.

Confessions of a Three-Eyed Freak by Arielle Papa

Okay not one of the ones I liked. A story about a woman uncomfortable with a birthmark on her neck and goes to get it removed. She ends up waking up with an eye where the mark was on her neck. Okkkkaaay..... I kept thinking she was going to wake up and it was a weird dream. But no, it was real. She grew to like the third eye and was obsessed with it. Only when the eye started looking at different men did she go to have it removed. The eye was getting out of control. Ummmm......need I say more???? And the woman in the story had the same name as the author. That's just weird to me. This entire one was strange.

The Commitment Phobe by Cara Lockwood

Loved this one. Soooo cute! About a woman and man that are dating and of course she's ready for the next step, marriage, and he is content the way they are. He isn't against marriage it just seems like something they'll do eventually. Well she shakes some things up and gives her man a wake-up call. He is so cute, how much he loves her. Adorable read. I am all kinds of excited to find more work by Cara Lockwood!

Mama Knows Best by Kayla Perrin

Short, sweet and kinda funny. Yeah this one had me laughing a bit. Sometimes when you read a book about a black couple all you hear about is the color factor. You only hear it once or twice in this story, and not in a way to draw attention to the fact. Just in regular description like any other person or story. It really was a good read. A woman dumps her fiance the day before (or is it the day of) their wedding when she found out he cheated with a stripper. Then on a girls night out her ex is there with a Tyra look a like. Taking a deep breath she pretends to be there with a hot guy that happens to be sitting next to her. After a perfect performance she apologizes to the hot man and kisses any chance of actually talking him up now that he probably thinks she's a crazy. But surprise surprise who is her mama setting her up with the next night???

Nice Jewish Boy by Karen Siplin

Absolutely no point to this story. It's about two women, best friends since high school. They go to a friends baby's party, Jewish friend. One of the girls is Jewish on is black. The story is mostly about how the black girl stands out in the crowd of Jewish people. And then how all the Jewish mama's wonder if she is a mother herself even after she told them she is single and living with her parents. It's made out to be like every black woman is supposed to be a single mom. Sorry but I don't make that assumption or a normal basis! The the other girl gets propositioned for an affair with an ex that is married. Well I have no clue why she is only wearing the skimpiest outfit ever. So basically it's two mid-30's women that both live with their parents and wonder why nobody takes them seriously.....hmmmm, I don't know I just can't figure it out. Oh and did I mention neither of them drive so the parents still drive them around....oh and the 'nice Jewish boy'? Yeah that's a 15 yr. old that hit on the black girl. No more to say.

Dead Men Don't Eat Quiche by Deanna Carlyle

Started this story thinking it was kinda cute. A girl living in France her parents coming to visit. Blah blah blah. They tour the city have fun, of course she is dragging her feet. Then we find out her ex was murdered and she was a suspect. Oh but wait she figured out the true killer and cleared herself. So they go out to the restaurant that her mother made reservations at and there is a mix up. No availability, they lost the reservation. The mother is yelling (and don't ask my why the daughter was embarrassed, I would have been yelling too!)Basically a man comes and says they can join their private party. They flirt all night, have a private bathroom get together. Next thing we know the guy ends up dead in the bathroom with a fork in his neck. Again the heroine is a suspect and again clears herself. Not a great read, not bad either. Kinda Meh...

So ladies. Like I said, some bad some good. Do I think you should run out and grab this book? Yeah, it's a nice book to have when you have a few minutes for a short story. It's nice cause they are very short and mostly interesting. Also introduces us to many new authors that we may not have otherwise read. I love the purpose behind the book!

Grade~ B-