I love reading but sometimes it's hard to find time. So I try to take my books with me on the zillions of planes I'm on in any given month (I got through The Count of Monte Cristo in about two weeks once just on airplanes if that tells you anything about my life). This weekend I left mine at home so I decided to pick one up at the airport. There wasn't much selection at the gift shop in my terminal and so I ended up with the second novel by the woman who wrote The Devil Wears Prada. Although that was one of the few instances where I think the movie actually corrected the problems I had with the book, I figured it would be a quick and relatively entertaining read.
About ten pages in I was seriously regretting my decision. One hundred pages in I was actually kind of upset. By the time I got to my layover in Houston I was so mad I almost threw the stupid thing in the trash. What made me so angry? Well let's just start with the fact that it's practically the same plot of The Devil Wears Prada just set in PR instead of fashion. The heroine is the same super clueless dork who finds herself dropped into a soul sucking profession, pursued by some sexy but shallow guy in the industry and proceeds to ditch her closest friends and almost lose sight of who she is before some melodramatic situation plunges her back to reality.
I could spend an hour on how the writing is only marginal, that it depends on a lot of lazy celebrity name-dropping to make it seem "in the know", how the characters are mind-numbingly one dimensional, or how I could go the rest of my life without reading or watching one more thing about shallow, spoiled, self-centered Manhattan glitterati.
But I won't. What I will say instead is that I'm officially off "Chick Lit". Ok so yes, I did enjoy Bridget Jones' Diary. But even then I remember reading it and thinking, "how hard is it really to get to work on time?" People kept saying how they really related to her and it bothered me. Bridget was funny but she was such a disaster. It seemed like life just batted her around like a rag doll until she fell into a great job and a fabulous boyfriend. I'm all for a nice realistic profile of single women in their 30's but I couldn't help thinking that she'd be the friend whose exhausing drama would make me avoid her phone calls. Chick Lit seems to rely on messy heroines. And not messy in any kind of interesting ways-messy in annoying, self absorbed ways like they can't figure out how to catch a guy, lose 10 pounds or control their spending. They invariably end up being swept up by some incredibly romantic man who bears no resemblance to an actual male. It's a women's fantasy version of a man. The kind who likes to shop and notices your haircut and says sweet things without prompting. In many chick lit books, this guy is also super rich and successful but the heroine doesn't usually know that until the end.
I guess for a lot of women, that's what they want in a book. A heroine who makes your own messy life look like neat as a pin, and a man who if you knew him in real life would actually be your gay friend. But I'm done with this drivel. Done with whiny, superficial women with silly problems, done with male characters that are either complete steroetypes or create unrealistic expectations.
Maybe that means I have to write one myself.