Weekly Meeting: Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married

Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married
Lucy Sullivan Is Getting Married

Book:

Challenges:

  • Book Lust

What you should know:

  • This is chick lit.
  • It was made into a TV series only available in the UK and it didn’t do very well.

Discussion:

I was seriously going to use discussion questions and then I realized I was neck deep in three chick lit books this past week.  Then I realized why I dislike Chick Lit so much: it’s empty platitudes and self-hate  annoy me to no end.

No, really.  I seriously dislike chick lit.  How is the Chick Lit genre different from romance or general women’s fiction?  Well, add in a healthy dose of self-help and you have Chick Lit.  The specific element to Chick Lit is that the female protagonist hates herself and/or her life- typically both.  Her dislike of her life is a reflection for her dislike of herself.  She is often distracted by either the issue of running out of time and/or living the correct life- typically both.  She often struggles with love and the novel will find her at a low point in her love life.  Even the best done Chick Lit does this.  Yes, there are some well done novels that fall into Chick Lit.  The genre classics like Good in Bed, In Her Shoes, Bridget Jones Diary, and a few others are less overbearing about the self-help aspect and the self-hate.

I am not sure if these are a reflection of modern women or creating the real issues they write about.  The idea of a biological clock, living a good life, etc. are all things I hear from my friends.  Hell, I had a conversation with a friend recently where she told me she was trying to live a good life.  She has a busy life, but she was telling me how she was trying to fit in volunteering and dating.  She was telling me how, even at past 40, she still wants to have children and it bothers her that all the people we know having babies are younger than her.  She specifically noted that I was not bothered by these things.  When I asked her how she defined a good life, she had no idea how to respond.  It wasn’t that the question shocked her.  She had thought about it and actually said she didn’t know.

So, what is it about me that makes me not care, but at the same time find myself annoyed with literature that makes caring the central focus?  Living the right life, living a good life, and not hating your life/your self is often built around comparing yourself to others.  This is the other central theme of Chick Lit: learning to live your life, your way.  I do that already.  I compare myself only to myself at my worst.  If I am doing better than myself at my worst, then I am doing magnificently.  If I am happy and my happiness is in my control, then I am doing wonderfully.  If I am unhappy and it is out of my control, I use what is in my control to make myself happy.  Even if that means I lay in bed and do nothing, then I am making myself happy.

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quintessential empty platitude

Chick Lit encourages women to do this with empty platitudes and psychobabble.  You know an empty platitude because you and/or your friends post them all over Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and every other social network.  Here is one I saw a few times last week.

Now, how does this actually help anyone?  It poses as some type of call to action.  Who said this?  That’s even worse!  Someone made this shit up to make themselves feel better.  That is all these do- make someone feel better and someone else feel like they aren’t doing something right.  No person does more than hit share.  Nobody looks at this, has that AH-HA moment and changes their life.

The lesson you should take away from Chick Lit: STOP.  Stop reading this and go read something that won’t make you feel like your life is shit.  At least Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey didn’t make you feel like your life was shit.  They at least made you fantasize about something enjoyable- even if I don’t necessarily agree that your fantasy content is necessarily enjoyable (I am talking about the stalking, not the bondage).

Women who want something light can do far better with a cozy mystery or an actual romance novel.  Come on people, it’s a new year so let’s not read the same crap and think it will hold the answers to a better life.  It doesn’t and you won’t actually use it to change your life.

Media Tie-In:

The Brits did make this into a tv series back in 1999. You can see bits of it on YouTube, but you may not like it.  It’s really bad, even for 1999.  That being said, Gerard Butler was in it so you may like it.

Who will like:

  • People who like Chick Lit will like this.
  • My real-life book club members will probably love this.

Other books I finished this week:

  • Dark Sun: The Making of the Hydrogen Bomb – I have been trying to read since April.  I just couldn’t get into it at all, but I managed to finish it right before the end of the year!
  • I Don’t Know How She Does It – a far better Chick Lit book because it is a reflection of a real issue for women: work/home balance.  It’s still Chick Lit, but a little less self-help style.

 

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