Why Chick Lit Doesn’t Do It for Me (Anymore)

The Versions of Us

I used to swallow romance and chick lit books. You would be hard pressed to find anything else on my shelves, crime and thriller – meh, drama – yuck, historical novels – why would I ever. Maybe that was because being an English Lit major, I ended up reading the prescribed classics and modern works and wanted a break from all that. Or maybe being in my twenties, romance with an investment-banker-knight-on-a-white-horse and a shopaholic was what I needed as there was a serious lack of both in my life.

Or maybe hitting thirty is really what everybody warns you about. You change. You don’t feel it, but it happens. It sneaks on you while you’re still trying to keep up with twenty-somethings downing shots while in reality you’d much rather curl up on your sofa with a glass of good quaility wine. Yes, I’m all about quality now.

But I’m veering off the subject, so back to my old reading habbits or why chick lit doesn’t do it for me anymore. I read it all, well, not all, but a significant amount. There were days when I wouldn’t be seen without the latest Sophie Kinsella or Lindsay Kelk or Jill Mansell. Those were my favourite. I never thought of Rebecca Bloomwood as silly and could quite easily fall into step with her crazy adventures. Or Angela Clark’s adventurous dash and a new life in NYC. To me, these heroines were what I wanted, I wanted a life in a glamorous city, a handsome man to sweep me off my feet (I guess) and maybe that’s why I was reading at a speed of light. Until recently. Don’t misunderstand, I still read at a speed of light, but not romance. Why?

An Easy Book to Read
An Easy Book to Read

I guess I grew up and got saddled with a mortgage. And a nine to five job and bills. All of the sudden, the crazy shopping sprees that are Rebecca’s signature seemed reckless and well, for the lack of a better word, stupid. How can a woman in her mid-twenties be so reckless, spending money she doesn’t have. Or am I too harsh and way too sensible? All of the sudden I didn’t find her escapades funny and entertaining anymore, I simply found them annoying.

Still, every once in a while I go back to chick lit. It seems as if I can’t get that clean break, that closure. After all, chick lit and me, we had a good and long relationship. We were together for almost a decade. The romances were there when I couldn’t sleep, when I was sad and tired. They provided a comfortable cloud of hope when I needed one. But BANG! That dream ended. I saw them for what they were and put down my rose tinted glasses and let the real world enter my life.

Recently I tried reading (and read it, mostly because I’m a stickler for finishing off what I start) Lindsey Kelk’s trio About a Girl, What a Girl Wants and A Girl’s Best Friend. And it left me empty and my fast reading turned into a plod. And while Tess isn’t an utterly silly heroine and has some gumption about her, her attitude to relationships and willingness to blame everyone but herself for certain failures in life and love are what makes my blood boil. Why can’t these women take charge and stop playing a silly little damsel in distress who continuously gets drunk due to peer pressure. At a certain age you either get over that or you’re drinking because you enjoy it, either or, but not some middle, undecided way. And also, she seems fairly on top of her career choices and takes the hard rather than the easy way, so obviously she’s not weak. But what is it with men who have these extraterrestrial ability to turn these women’s brain into mush and cause all this drama. Where and when does that happen? Well, maybe in your twenties.

Or is it that once you hit thirty, you realise that the prince charming won’t pick you up in his Bentley and whisk you off to his Manhattan penthouse, but will rather offer to buy you a pint and call you an Uber. When I think about it, I’d much prefer that pint and being able to snuggle up to my prince charming (who’s wearing a geeky tee) on our sofa than run around the wintery New York dressed into a skimpy dress causing drama on street corneres. But we all have our preferences.

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