Friday, January 8, 2010

I was wrong

I've been on this big Jennifer Weiner reading kick lately, after several years of shunning her books for no apparent reason. It's not like I haven't had friends (many, actually) recommend Certain Girls or Best Friends Forever, but, I don't know, I guess I never really gave her a chance before now. Believe me, I've recently made up for it. Just ask my new Kindle.

Maybe it's because her books were described by that dreaded phrase: chick lit. At the time, I was reading a lot of Paul Coelho. (I get on these kicks, you see.) Shoe stories? Girls who dress fierce and swan around and whatnot? No thanks.

But her books are so very not. Her themes explore loneliness and loyalty, motherhood, missed opportunities, and regret.

So here I am, faced with the fact that I, myself, a feminist for god's sake, was demeaning women-centric writing. I assumed her books were fluffy and of little worth just because of the subject matter. And they are the very subjects I WRITE! ARGH!

I'll admit it now. I was wrong.

Have you ever been surprised by something?


Janna Leadbetter said...

Well I'll have to admit right next to you, since I haven't picked up Weiner's books for the same reasons. What is wrong with us? I guess we need to learn that sometimes "chick lit" is a misnomer.

I'll have to change that. Thanks for letting us know!

Allie said...

I was totally going to offer to send you Best Friends Forever when I finish reading it, but I've been short on reading time lately.

I love Jennifer Weiner so much! Not just for her writing, but for the way she sticks up for female writers. She's amazing.

There are lot of amazing womens' fiction that got cursed by the title "chick lit." There were, of course, a few too many stories about shopping and shoes that didn't have any substance, but there were and are also a lot of stories out there about complex relationships and the struggles of gender roles, that happen to have a shoe on the cover. Had it come out in 2002, I think Little Women would have been pegged "chick lit" same goes for Fried Green Tomatoes.

WendyCinNYC said...

Janna--You would love Best Friends Forever. It's clever and funny without being fluffy.

Allie--I think you are right about Little Women and FGT. Add Jane Austen to the list as well.
I should have just asked you about Jennifer Weiner, given that we have identical tastes in books, it seems!

Ladybird World Mother said...

Will have to take a look at these books.. sound amazing. I love to read a book and be wonderfully surprised by them... Kate Atkinson is one of my favourites now... she was one of those surprises... x

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I'm blanking on specific authors or titles, but I know I've been guilty of that as well. I finished Middlesex over the holidays and LOVED LOVED LOVED it. I don't know why I'd put it off for so long.

Debra Lynn Shelton said...

The only JW book I've read is "Good In Bed." If you're on a JW kick, you'll probably like it.

Sadly, what I've been most surprised about lately is mediocre writing and/or a very unsatisfying ending.

I enjoyed TIME OF MY LIFE by Allison Winn Scotch, not that I was surprised by that since Allison is so uber-awesome. ;-)

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I'm reading (YA)Project 17. I picked it up on a whim. It's pretty good.

Something that always surprises me is when I find silly mistakes in books.