Thursday, May 11, 2006

If this is Chick-Lit, where's my Bazooka?

In the midst of a rant last Friday at Sadly, No! about how the current Republican Party was molded almost entirely from the actions of gay men, I decided to post a link to Jessica Cutler's novelization of her blog, as it were. While is clearly inferior to Amazon, it's "you might be interested" is good.

A bunch of books with bright covers and pastels, curly typefaces, and multicolored titles. Chick-Lit, as it were.

Among the books listed was something called The Starter Wife, which appeared again a few hours later at the New York Public Library, where I was returning a DVD. I figured it was fate.

All of which is to say: I normally don't read this type of book. I don't know the reading protocols and am not in the target audience, any more than the people who read this are likely to be in the Lawrence Norfolk. So I'm not qualified to judge whether this is good, bad, or indifferent Chick-Lit.

(I do know that the author is the Wife Of Brian Grazer, that part of the joy is probably in guessing at the capsule-description-wives at the end of several chapters, and that the book is a pleasant read but not something I need to own--as with those Romance novels that came with DVDs I wanted to own, something to leave at the train station for someone else.)

But I do have to wonder when the Character Most Likely to Resemble the Target Audience--the title character's best female friend--is limned as:
Cricket was the type of mother who made hot lunches and never let another soul put her children to sleep; she was a wonderful, caring mother. Who would someday have to be institutionalized. [p. 54]

Cricket suffered from extreme empathy syndrome. If the friend is getting a divorce, she's getting a divorce; if her friend has strep, she develops a sore throat; if someone in China has a hangnail, Cricket can't get through the day. [pp. 96-7]

I'm just shy of halfway through the book (I couldn't find anything worth quoting in the scene where Cricket declares that the problem with her husband is that he still wants to have sex with her), and Cricket seems to be more sympathetic than the title character.

Does anyone know if this is typical of the genre?

UPDATE: The one loyal reader of this blog e-mails to tell me to stop reading the book now, out of fear I'll start buying Judy Garland records. I can assure him (and anyone else) that the lead character's other Best Friend (no benefits) is, of course, a gay male interior decorator. And he's so Precious he makes me want to play lacrosse or something. One funeral was enough to break me of any idea that I could accept Catholicism in my life; this one novel may well eliminate any vestige of bi-curiosity.


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