Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction


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Banking on female audiences' identification with single, urban characters who struggle with the same life challenges, publishers have earned millions and even created separate imprints dedicated to the genre. Not surprisingly, some highbrow critics have dismissed chick lit as trashy fiction, but fans have argued that it is as empowering as it is entertaining. This is the first volume of its kind to examine the chick lit phenomenon from a variety of angles, accounting for both its popularity and the intense reactions-positive and negative-it has provoked.


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The contributors explore the characteristics that cause readers to attach the moniker "chick" to a particular book and what, if anything, distinguishes the category of chick lit from the works of Jane Austen on one end and Harlequin romance novels on the other. They critique the genre from a range of critical perspectives, considering its conflicted relationship with feminism and postfeminism, heterosexual romance, body image, and consumerism. As the first book to consider the genre seriously, Chick Lit offers real insight into a new generation of women's fiction. Our distrustful independence?

Our slutty ways?

5+ Favorite Christian Chick-Lit Novels - Club 31 Women

They can be clumsy, of course, or have a whole host of superficial physical imperfections that make the characters more relatable—an extra few pounds, a poor sense of style. Ideally, these characters should at least imagine themselves to be plain, because is there anything more attractive in a woman than a lack of confidence? They can be high-strung and spend the course of the novel learning to let go.

They can be cowed and have to learn to stand up for themselves. They can be damaged , of course, as women so often are, temporarily undone by some sort of trauma. The fun of Bernadette is her sheer nastiness at the start.

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“Shadow branding is the brand you are giving off without even knowing it.”

She neither seeks nor finds fulfillment in home-making. What we learn instead is that even at home, Bernadette has been, in many ways, missing. More subversive still is the damaged woman who never overcomes. It was the summer of , and this was the night my mother became famous.

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Whether fame ultimately satisfies her remains to be seen, but she sets out to get it, and get it she does. Is there a less deserving character?

Probably not. Naomi may not be traditionally likable, but we can recognize in ourselves glimpses of that kind of wanting. Fiction, all fiction, should challenge and expand our empathies, not simply reinforce the same assumptions, the same rules. As a reader, I want the stories about mothers and sisters and lovers, but I want the ugly ones too.

I want the relationships that never get fixed. I want the people who stay broken and still get picked.

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She has swallowed most of the messages about how to be a woman in the world—how to be beautiful, how to be thin, how to have value. My protagonist is not a heroine who fights the good fight or learns her lesson or overcomes her flaws, nor is she sufficiently punished for the things she does wrong.

But we ask it differently across the genders—for men, we ask why? She is all of those contradictory things and more, so which do you want to censure her, censure any of us, for?

Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction
Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction Chick Lit: The New Womans Fiction

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