September 30, 2011
Musing on why I read chick lit
In my experience there has always been alot of controversy over the chick lit label given to books and the genre. It has been said for years that "chick lit is dead" and ever few months some article comes out or people get up in arms with posts on how this statement is not true again. A buzz last few a few days, we all go back to our books and writing and wait for it to happen again. I think with the fact that this subject comes up so often and from what I see there is always people disagreeing with the statement the genre will never actually be "dead". I do think in the publishing industry they may move away from calling it "chick lit" and there is rebranding that is happening. The same heart of the books and type of books are there and will continued to be published in some way. Maybe not in the same way they have been in the past or the same amount that were coming out at points. The genre/type of books will not disappear completely in my opinion, just how we look at them and find them might change.
Now, why I read books that are called "chick lit". I was first introduced to the genre by my former stepmother, who brought British chick lit into the house, think Sophie Kinsella/Marian Keyes/etc. and introduced me to some lighthearted comedic books. At the time as a college English major, these books were the kind of escape I needed during breaks. I soon went off on my own and was finding other books in the genre that appealed to me more. Discovering Jennifer Weiner, Emily Giffin, Jane Green, and more on my own. My former stepmother and I grew apart as I got older and left the house, but I will remember she started me on this genre. She never really got into the genre like I did, didn't branch out beyond some of the comedic escape, stick with more of what be romantic comedy movies, but were books. Not me though, once I started I wanted more and knew there was more out there.
I see the genre as more than just an escape, more than just fluff books. Yes, there are the fluff ones out there and those are fun to read sometimes. But, many of the books there is more to them. If you are going through something in your life and need something to relate to in my experience I can usually find a book that deals with something similar at least and gives me something to relate to. The book will most likely have a happy ending and I may not, but that is ok at least it gave me an escape from my real problems for a little while. Many of the authors deal with subject that would normally be seen as taboo, but bring them out in fictions makes them less taboo and gives readers something to think about.
These books have gotten me through some dark moments in my life and made me think and consider things I wouldn't otherwise. Not all of them have bright pink covers, or deal with the single girl in the city with an amazing job that is out drinking with her friends ever night. Yes, those books exist, but I personally don't feel that they dominate the field anymore. I do read books that are more simpler and enjoy them at times. But, if I need something more than that I know there are other things in the genre that will meet my needs and that I will enjoy.
Plus, there are many of the classics that I have not even had a chance to read yet. So, I am sure I will be busy and stay reading chick lit for a long time. For me it is an old friend that I can and do still turn to and it is defiantly not dead for me.