ChickLit, or “Oh God My Eyes!”

Pony gave me a copy of Rebecca to read.

It’s supposed to be a really good book.  I guess it is.  But… I’m fairly certain that there are four main characters at this point (roughly page 90).

The unnamed chick.

The “I’m way past all these silly bourgeois conventions because I refuse to grow a soul and heal” husband.

The unnamed chick’s inferiority complex.

The unnamed chick’s weird ideas.

So far, for certain #1 and #2 will surely change, because I’m not even a quarter of the way in yet… but it’s been at least sixty pages of Character Four Flogging Character Three, and Character Three making Character One miserable.


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  1. Madeleine

     /  August 23, 2007

    I really like your breakdown of relations between Characters 1, 3 and 4, so I will refrain from saying anything much….
    Ok, except for whee! It’s a gothic roller coaster of psychological intrigue and it definitely kicks Bridget Jones’ ass (granted, I’ve never read Bridget Jones, but I really like the idea of a chick-lit smackdown.)

  2. Anna

     /  August 23, 2007

    BJ is pretty decent for a 21st century chicklit book. It was my sister’s total favorite while she was single. I’d recommend it, but not necessarily the movie. But yes, Rebecca is so much better. I need to find the movie as well…

  3. I wonder. Is there, or should there be, such a thing as “dude lit?”

    Sounds awfully… postmodern, I guess. Literature being speech, and speech, for the postmodernist, being a weapon wielded by various unequal, eternally-hostile groups, it would then make sense to define “DudeLit” as merely an example of oppressive hierocratic masculine normative fiction. Unless, of course, one were to find genres of “DudeLit” encompassing various “losers” such as Napolean Dynamite, etcetera.

    Because in the absence of that, probably the most common form of DudeLit might be Popular Mechanics…

  4. eowyn

     /  August 23, 2007

    Damn. Now you’ve made my brain twitch. This is one of the last books I would expect you to read. I had it forced on me by my 8th grade English teacher. The film (by Hitchcock, with Laurence Olivier and George Saunders, who is always fun to watch) is pretty good.

  5. Dudelit?
    I’d suggest High Fidelity by Nick Hornby.

  6. I’m not functionally averse to literature, Eowyn. I just tend to restrict my reading to whatever has been highly-recommended. “Dropped in my lap” as this was helps, too.

    I have an evil plan to grab my grandmother’s library, full of all KINDS of books you would never expect to see on my shelves…

  7. eowyn

     /  August 23, 2007

    Not what I meant. I know you’re not averse to literature… but du Maurier?

  8. “Dudelit” is either navel-gazing — like anything by Ernest Hemingway, John Updike, or John Irving — or the stereotypical masculine genre novels — Louis L’Amour, Clive Cussler, Ian Fleming, Tom Clancy, Dashiell Hammett, etc.

    And I concur with E. The whole “gothic romance” genre — such as du Marnier’s _Rebecca_ and the Bronte sisters’ _Jane Eyre_ and _Wuthering Heights_ — is something I could never get into for pleasure reading. Can appreciate it as a person trained in lit-crit/narratology, but that’s about it.

    But hey, I like dumb movies like _Kumar and Harold Go to White Castle_ and _Joe’s Apartment_ so take my opinion with hefty grains of salt. 🙂

  9. Bleah. Typed too fast. “du Maurier”.

  10. Well, I’m a third of the way through, and it’s finally developing a plot and some characters. MUCH better than, oh, p. 35…

  11. Anna

     /  August 23, 2007

    Remember when we talked about how pacing of older movies seems to be so totally off for us? I suspect it’s the same with older novels and short stories as well.

  12. Well, not really, it’s more that character #3 is nearly the only one speaking for about fifty pages…

  13. If you really want to torture yourself, why not read the Scarlet Letter…

  14. Been there, done that…

  15. Mike

     /  August 24, 2007

    Urg. This is why I read history and Sci-Fi. Dude lit? Heh, there is some. The first edition of the Anarchist’s Cookbook is one. Hmmmm, the US Army’s Improvised Munitions Handbook is another. The Dangerous Book for Boys is right up there (I got one for my nephews, it rocks). Tom Sawyer, Treasure Island and The Count of Monte Crisco are all up there too (a kid having fun by causing trouble, treasure and pirates and the coolest revenge story ever written, how can yo go wrong).

  16. Madeleine

     /  August 24, 2007

    You know, it’s odd, but I often liked boy’s adventure books – especially the Three Muskateers and The Count of Monte Cristo – more than I liked books that were meant for girls (thought I did love some of them). Definitely a your mileage may vary thing, I think.

    What I wonder is this: Is modern publishing forcing a more highly gendered division in readership? Would such a division exist quite so definitively without the constantly reinforced meme of “chick-lit” vs “him-lit” (aka ‘dude-lit’, which is often unfairly derrided as being lame because it addresses concerns that may be exclusive to the modern male. If chicks can have lit, then dude’s can have lit too.)

    Even now though, I’d rather read Hemingway or John Irving than most books marketed for the modern woman. And belive me, when I say I’d rather read Hemingway over anything, I’m really saying something about that anything 🙂 This, however, is also a you’re mileage may vary thing.

    Oh, and Mike you’re right – The Dangerous Book for Boys is totally cool…

  17. Mike

     /  August 24, 2007

    THanks. I have to disagree with you on Hemingway though, I thought his stuff was painful to read.

  18. I think she was subtly agreeing with you, Mike.

    Hemingway. Lord, what a poser. But, then again, looking at some of the other options, I could survive another round through The Sun Also Rises long before some chicklit.

  19. Mike

     /  August 25, 2007

    True, but that is basically saying you would rather be shot than gassed.

  20. Madeleine

     /  August 25, 2007

    well, wouldn’t you? 🙂

  21. Alex

     /  August 25, 2007

    Sorry, Obligatory quote:
    Pharaoh: “At morning you will be executed. You may choose between beheading or being burned at the stake.”
    Curly: “That’s easy. Burned at the stake”
    Moe: “You numbskull! What you’d pick that for”
    Curly” Because hot steak is better than cold chop. Nyuk Nyuk Nyuk”

    Now those three, if they ever wrote, would be dude lit.


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