I know use of the term "chick lit" can cause people to have instant hernias or it can make them feel like they want to scream or have a cocktail. But I am thinking about this term today because I recently read I Think I Love You by Alison Pearson and then yesterday I saw "Something Borrowed" which is based on a book by Emily Giffin.
Both of these books take on relationships between women as their central themes, although they both follow the traditional Romantic Comedy formula: girls love boys, or the same boy, and this affects or might affect their friendship, obstacles are overcome, the girls each end up with the boy they should end up with, sometimes causing the disastrous ruin of their friendship. One of the important sub-themes of Romantic Comedies, however, is the hurtful way some women treat other women.
The formula of Romantic Comedy necessitates a reliance on stereotype: women love to shop! blonde women are fun and bitchy, not troubled by intellectualism! brunettes are brainy and compassionate! the best male friend is also intellectual and cute in a geeky way and he's in love with the nice girl! But she doesn't love him! I could go on...but I know you all understand.
Now after watching the movie "Something Borrowed" which was definitely the standard formulaic Romantic Comedy, and having read I Think I Love You over the weekend, I start to wonder whether Romantic Comedy and Chick Lit are the same categories, basically, and whether Chick Lit can ever be more than the formulaic women centered fiction we think of, or would it be possible for a woman to write a book that is considered Chick Lit that fundamentally changes the definition of Chick Lit, or if a book defies that narrow formula it's just not considered Chick Lit.
I know this is not a new discussion, but I was bothered by a few things in "Something Borrowed." One is the notion that getting married means choosing between your female best friend and your male soul mate. It seems, in this configuration, you can't have it both ways. Obviously this is not realistic, but I wonder why so many Chick Lit novels set this up as a fundamental conflict.
The second question is why, when a novel has an important relationship at its core, is this novel automatically deemed less important or weighty than a novel that takes on some other kind of issue?
No, these questions might never be answered, but I guess this is what is on my mind.