On Chick-lits

I do not like chick-lits. Yes, you read that right (*looking at EvilDevil). I feel it is not really a genre, but simply the book description.
And I do not like chick-lits. At all.

Spattered with pink (eeuu!) and margaritas and martinis and cosmopolitans and lotions and stockings – rather than soaking in literary awards, or IQ for that matter, I’m surprised such books sell like hot cakes.

The image that pops in my head (when a book is termed as chick-lit) is that of mediocre quality writing, published with minimum editing, available in paperback at half the price, and is as easily forgotten as read.

What ever happened to the enriching content or highlighting an issue of concern?
Don’t get me wrong. Chick-lits are fun, if well crafted. But look at the quality of chick-lits being produced nowadays.
All they have is random “bold”-ness and a generous serving of sex, affairs, lusty and flirtatious men and women, gossip, gal pals, shopping, high heels, parties, diets, broken dreams, lucky breaks, and the clichéd jazz (happy sorta endings) that help in no way apart from wasting time.

Chick-lits were meant to show a woman’s point of view. Remember Rona Jaffe’s fast –paced, sassy tale of New York girls’ office life, “The Best Of Everything” that came out in 1958? No, I haven’t read it but during my research I did come across a lot of reviews of this book. And most of them did mention how “the book changed the lives of many readers” (yes, in a positive way)! Now that’s what you call a good chick-lit that is a real bestseller. The one that has an impact. And weren’t chick-lits aimed at (young) women to change their perspective for the good? What really happened to that funda?

And if you consider it to be a genre, I’m sorry to say it has really degraded and instead of dealing with the real problem/issues faced by women, it highlights the kind of lifestyle most women yearn for today. Obnoxious most of the time. And it’s all in the name of enjoyment and fun. Fine, there is nothing wrong in indulging in fun. But honey, can’t you pull up your socks and just think of a better name, if not the content!??!
All I ask you “budding writers” is to make some sense! Those “no-brainer” reads make it to the bestsellers list.
How, I have no idea!
Someone told me recently that chick-lits sell. It’s easier to find publishers for it. Not many publishers take their chances with serious content lest they lose face.
Ok, what? How???

It baffles me how each time someone blames the publisher(s) and walks away with a chick-lit. Now just because no one can really go (cross-) question the publisher, the argument ends there (forcibly).
I’ve met a couple of publishers during book fests and boy! Are they serious about their work or what! Name “chick-lits” that have won any awards. You won’t find many. Right. Because they have no invigorating content!!!

To add more misery are your ‘telly series’ (like Sex and the City) that makes young women think they too can write a shoddy articles about their lifestyle in the metro as a single girl and garner accolades. Accolades of shame I say.

And what’s with the pink cover! Really!!! Or cup cakes or cherries or hearts or suggestive silhouettes of women. All marketing gimmicks eh? Here’s a secret ladies – when you do that, no matter how good the content is, you definitely are losing out on certain readers. Because we are going to assume (and sorry about that –once bitten twice shy) that the inside would be as girly, uninteresting, formulaic and mundane as the cover.
Wise men have suggested that books furnish a house. But looking at the books on the shelves of major bookstores I don’t think I wish to furnish my room with the sickly pinks or sugar spewing, atrocious thin tomes.

And oh yes, the plot seems to be written for the dim-wits. An ordinary story, with no great characterization or depth or meaning what-so-ever, to mock the readers and their IQ. And there is no real humor. It is all forced/fake and non-existent. Don’t even get me started on the predictable endings. FYI “Happily ever after” is a myth.
Again, and I’m not defending myself here, there have been works by seasoned authors that count as really good chick-lits. But my grudge is against the new-age silly chicks who really think they can compile and compose a novella, when in reality they can hardly frame a sentence, or make sense.

I’ve read some of Sophie KinsellaMarian KeyesHelen Fielding and Janet Evanovich who’ve whipped up delicious chick-lits to savor. Yes, not all their work is good. But they are naturally humorous and entertaining, with sometimes a hidden agenda being addressed.
I recently heard people all over celebrated May 2011 as the inauguralInternational Chick-lit Month. Wow! I wish people attended that to learn more about crafting good stories rather than jotting clichéd routines and self-proclaim them as best-sellers!

*All views expressed in the blogs are of the writer (Sanjana Kapoor) alone and do not reflect the views of Sonia in any manner.


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