What happens when two thirtysomething siblings relive the summer reading programs of their youth in an all-out battle of the books? The race is on as they read by the rules and keep tally on their logs to see who will be the ultimate reader by Labor Day 2010.

July 25, 2010

Chick-lit Gets Serious: Infidelity

I should have campaigned more strongly for a separate category for typical chick-lit authors who occasionally tread in more somber waters. Our official rules require me to balance a light and fluffy book with something more serious, but what about when a Cool Whip book suddenly turns serious? When I'm shuddering, not laughing? When bad things happen to children? What is this genre coming to?

I love to loathe Jennifer Weiner. I didn't mind her first books so much, but at some point she just plain began to bother me. I can't be the first person to think it just wrong that Weiner is shelved right next to Elie Wiesel. But, anyway, she just published "Fly Away Home" and I, lemming that I am, bought it. (In Target. I apologize to all the small, independent booksellers in my area). For some reason, Weiner decided the world had not yet tired of real political sex scandals and thought we'd might like to read a fictional account of one. Yet, she drops names like Eliot Spitzer and Mark Sanford into the plot (are we really going to remember these details of hookers and hikes in 2020?). For me, Weiner committed an unpardonable sin by killing off a child 2/3 of the way into the chick-lit story. Granted, said child was not a main character and was just a blip in the storyline-- but then why did you need it, Jennifer, why??? You let little Joy survive and thrive in those Cannie Shapiro books. As my son would say, "I'm mad at you."

Emily Giffin appears to be trying to leap from chick-lit fame to (slightly) more serious fiction with "Heart of the Matter". The arrogance of some of the central characters kept me from settling into the book. I wanted repercussions, consequences, and punishment for the blatant infidelity (come on, isn't someone going to report this to the Board of Ethics??). I wanted to support the single mom, but she kept insisting on making ridiculous decisions (hey, how about being there for your son instead of texting away to his doctor?). I simply wanted everyone to be on better behavior. If Valerie had just followed her gut and not allowed her six-year-old son to go to a sleepover birthday party at the house of adults she didn't know, none of this would have happened. Cowboy up, Val; it's time to start pointing the finger of blame at yourself.

Sigh. Why can't authors write the plots I want them to follow? I want my chick-lit to be light, sweet and airy, a nice literary dessert.

(I wonder how much longer I can avoid "The French Lieutenant's Woman"? Didn't I read it in college or something?)

1 comment:

  1. "Cowboy up?" Lonesome Dove must be rubbing off on you.