Friday, May 18, 2012

Raise your hand if...

Raise your hand if you are attempting to write the next great American novel?

I know you can't see me, but if you could you would see that my hand is NOT up. Actually, I'm glad you can't see me because my house is filthy and I didn't wash my hair today.
I hope it doesn't make me seem shallow to admit it, but I am not trying to change the world with my books. There is no hidden message in my stories. My characters are not metaphors. The plots of my books are in no way a commentary on what life is like today.
My books are for fun. I write them because I think its fun, and I want people to read them because they are looking for some entertainment.
Isn't that what most books in the genre of chick lit are supposed to be about? I'm not saying that Women's Fiction can't be meaningful or make an impact on the world around us. All I am trying to say is that when a reader picks up, or downloads, a book that is in the chick lit genre, they are not expecting to read a piece of work that will forever be in the canons of literary history. That being said, it cracks me up when I read reviews that say "it's not great literature", or "not a literary masterpiece" about a book that is in this genre.
Maybe I'm missing the point, but I thought that chick lit was supposed to be an escape. I spent several years in high school and college reading "great literature", and while I enjoyed some of them, I don't really want to read them again as an escape from the hustle and bustle of my everyday modern life! When I take the time to sit down with a book, I want to be transported to a place where I don't have to worry about bills that need to be paid, dishes that need to be washed, or a house that needs to be cleaned. I certainly don't want to have to think about how the story I'm reading is a metaphor for some aspect of our culture today, or try to decipher the message behind the story. I just want to melt into the story and live vicariously through the characters.
Am I missing the point? Am I a shallow reader?
I don't think so. I think that some people just don't relax when it comes to what they read. Perhaps they read everything with the same critical eye and fervor that they use when they read "the greats". To each his own, I guess. For me, though, I don't have Great Expectations for my chick lit, except that I expect my next great escape!