Chick-Lit Overload

Here’s a question. Why do most of the chick-lit novels have their main characters working either as an author, a journalist, or as an editor in book publishing industry? Remember Candace Bushnell’s Carrie Bradshaw (a columnist), or Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones (an editor) or Sophie Kinsella’s Becky Bloomwood (a journalist), and of course, Lauren Weisberger’s Andrea Sachs who worked at Vogue as Miranda Priestly (the editor)’s assistant in The Devil Wears Prada?

And now the newest Lauren Weisberger novel, Chasing Harry Winston, has one of the characters working as an editor too and another character was to become a columnist.

How original. Not.

The title itself is already confusing, and somewhere in the middle of the book, the famous jewelry name is mentioned – when one of the characters received a gift which was supposed to be the same thing that Salma Hayek had worn for Oscar.

But that’s it. I thought the title is supposed to be a symbol of how desperate the characters of finding husbands, or have their men put rings on their fingers. But no. God forbid if the modern girls from New York ever settle down and dream of simple lifestyle with a husband and babies and a house with white picket fences. Those who prefer to dismiss the author as a backstabbing ditz without a shred of talent will be sorry to hear her third book isn’t entirely unamusing, with some saucy lines and one irresistible character. But anyone looking forward to a dishy beach read à la The Devil Wears Prada will be even sorrier to hear that the fluffy fun bits are lost in a blobby mess of a narrative.

I think I should stop reading chick-lit novels altogether. They become boring and predictable. All characters are beautiful, skinny, talented, successful, unlucky in love – but soon will find the Mr. Right, who is none other than a top notch lawyer, or a successful director with megabucks movies, or a royalty with a house bigger than a football stadium, all possess the best seducing techniques, six-packs abs, and of course, are superbly rich.




  1. the writer says:

    It’s very true, mbak. Maybe journalist is considered as a cool profession over there in England (which is far from great in Indonesia, unfortunately LOL) and you’re right about them being too “predictable” and boring nowadays.

    Aku udah bete banget baca Shopaholic series, soalnya kebangetan banget gitu loh, nyiptain karakter yang doyan shopping oke lah, tapi si main characternya ini luar biasa sampe kadang bikin geregetan kalo baca.

    But I think there are still plenty of good chick lits out there, the ones that are seriously funny, witty without being insulting to the species of women in general. (I love Jane Moore’s Second Wives Club)

    Toh, ujung2nya baca chicklit karena pengen bacaan ringan :)

  2. rimafauzi says:

    ok.. ok, you’ve convinced me.

    I will write a chick lit where the main character is a fat lazy slob of a singer who works at an embassy by day, married, no kids, but is secretly a super hero.

    no, wait, that’s me.
    I gotta go get me more ideas!!

  3. Finally Woken says:

    @The Writer: But Devils Wear Prada and SATC are New Yorker, not English. I never even read Shopaholic series, only did it once, borrowing it from my friend who was a fan and didn’t like it. I think Candace Bushnell is still the best. Her novel Trading Up is scarily real, I could see many ‘professional girlfriends’ everywhere in the world.

    @Rima: even the chubby Bridget Jones hooked up with humanitarian lawyer who regularly had meetings with ambassador and stuff and owned a house at posh area. BUT, I like your novel’s character! When can I read the manuscript? *wink

  4. Tara Ryan says:

    I’ll be the first to defend chick lit, because frankly, it’s still my favorite read, but I too am really tired of everyone’s protag being a writer of some sort. I thought this was fiction! Be creative, make your protag a teacher, or a nurse or a media mogul. This malady is not limited to chick lit. It seems every book I pick up (and promptly put down) stars a writer in some form.
    As far as the other cliches in chick lit, there are more orginial stories out there, you just have to hunt them down. My favorite current hit is Unpredictable by Eileen Cook. It just doesn’t get any funnier than that. And no fashion in sight. And set in Canada, no less.
    To see reviews of books with all the good stuff chick-lit is made of (like voice and humor), check out my blog.

  5. i think because writer is a profession in which you can relate being a celebrity with being smart. director bisa juga siy, tapi kesannya kesibukan.

    profession lain apa dong? kalo actress kan commonly stereotyped with hedonism or not so smart. although ada juga yang gak gt, tapi nanti pembaca cewe2 protest lagi..mana ada actress pinter gt. hehe.

    it’s like boy band, you know..there is always one being a figure of naughty boy, one being cute innocent, one being great big brother and one sing very well. lol.

  6. I’ve read The Shopaholic series and at first I detested it simply because the character was too stupid and shallow beyond belief.

    But I can’t deny that I enjoyed reading the series and the more I read it the more I realised that Sophie Kinsella is actually a smart woman for writing Shopaholic – she wrote it in such simple language, and she wrote about a woman’s weakness, which is shopping. But most of all, she wrote about a human’s stupidity and unexplainable logic which could happen to almost everyone.

    Come on girls – whenever you see a pair of totally gorgeous stilettos, will you still deny that your urge to possess them become so great that even your logic becomes blurry and you will make ends meet just so that you can have the pair of shoes right where they belong, which is your feet?

    When I read Devil Wears Prada I was terrified of how realistic it was – because I’d been there too. The bullying boss, the workaholic environment which turned me into one and made me lose everything that was important to me and for what? I like the ending of the book because she gave up everything and went the hard way because it was more dignifying rather than being treated as a doormat just because she wanted to have that connection so badly.

    My favourite chick-lit author is and will always be Marian Keyes. The characters are nowhere near perfect, and they are so realistic with their problems and personal issues – but at the end they always learn something.

    In truth, we love chick-lit novels because we can relate to them and we like how the girls deal with their problems and coming out to be better persons than before.

    In truth, we want to be just as brave and as original as they are :)

  7. I think it’s because being a writer/journalist is closer than what they actually do now, which is writing. So, probably they were so PASSIONATE about that profession, so it’s fun to write such character. Plus, they don’t really need to do more investigation/research because they’re alreday living as one.
    I myself who once worked as a journalist dreaming of one day writing a story. It’s already set on my mind that the main character will be a writer. I think I love to write/read about character that I can identify with.
    Have you ever read Stephen King’s novel? Many of his main characters is also writer/author. Or John Grisham who like to make his characters involved with the law. I think that’s because it was his originally field before he became an author. Also, there is some Indonesian author, where her main characters always doctors (I forgot the author’s name). I learned that she graduated from medical study.
    I think no matter what the author said that the story isn’t about them, I always believe 50% will somehow based on their own life, on how they view the world, their dreams, what kind of person they wanted to be, etc.
    Don’t really have specific comment about chick-lit stories because I actually haven’t got a chance to read one.
    Sorry, for such a long post. I enjoy your blog by the way and would like to come here more often. Take care!

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