My favouritest romance writer Jennifer Crusie has written a book about my current favourite TV show the Gilmore Girls. Though the book is not it out yet can it be more joyous and chick-like? Crusie writes tremendously romantic and funny novels. I shall not gush about the Gilmore girls though I have a tiny inclination to do so.  Crusie's heroines (like the Gilmore girls) have their lives under control, are attractive and funny. Which is not true for most chick-lit characters including the lovely Ms Jones who can't do anything competently. Including sex!

Melissa Banks, the woman who has been told that she started this whole chick-lit business with her Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing says: You know, for some reason the book was published in France first, and an interviewer faxed me some questions, and one of the questions was: "Of course people always say that a woman who is funny cannot be erotic or seductive. But that's not true in your book. Why isn't it?" Or something like that. And I thought, "Of course people always say this?" I had a boyfriend at the time, and I turned to him and read the question, and he said, "But you're not funny." And I actually wasn't funny with him. The mark of my being in the wrong relationship is that I stop being funny. But I would argue that nobody can actually be funny and erotic at the same time. They don't really go together. I mean, I hope that I'm erotic. But when you're being erotic, you're creating a spell; when you're making a joke, you're breaking it.

t helps if you’re funny and interesting and willing to humiliate yourself. Sarah Dunn, author of The Big Love

So that's the theory.

Though the Diary was hilarious I am irritated by characters who are only reincarnations of Goldie Hawn's Ditzy Period (or Brittany Murphy if you want something more current) who are constantly bungling everything. And all these ladies are drenched at some climactic moment, rain, splashed by a car, fell in the shower...Also giving them a chance to be harried yet sexy. So that we would know that only if they had the man problem organised they would know ENOUGH TO COME IN WHEN IT RAINS!

Really, what is the point? The chick (if you will) goes from Point A to a few scattered points within a radius of 6 cms. At each of these points she makes a mess of things and returns to Point A with the notable addition of a notable man whose linen shirt is never creased. If one looks for pointers in respectable literary fiction you can see that at the end of the tale the eponymous Emma is less sure of her ability to arrange the world and Elizabeth Bennet is less prejudiced. Jimmy of Roddy Doyle's Rabbite Series rarely can get anything done. He is a sweet, loving loser. But at the end of The Van when he tips over the chipper van (which he had hoped to make a fast-food fortune with) into the river (or was it a drain?) it is profoundly moving because he suddenly decides his friendship with his erstwhile partner was more important than money.

Far more interesting than ditz-lit books are contemporary dyed-in-the-wool romances which come from a tradition where the heroine does find her self and is transformed in some manner (even if it is a make-over that suddenly makes her a ramp model in Paris instead of the hero's PA). In Crusie's romances for instance..alright let us take Faking It. Matilda is a painter who does reproductions of great art for a living. At some point she was forced by her sleazy father to produce six paintings in her own style. He then sold them as the only work of an mysterious artist who tragically died young. Now Matilda's father is dead, everyone including the cops and robbers are looking for the last canvas which has gone missing. If Matilda finds it first then she can sell it and help her family. But if she does she loses her last chance to paint in her own style. The book is full of references to caper movie wisecracks and rock and roll lyrics. It is funny and sexy and superbly written.

If you are a romance fan I strongly recommend The Cindrella Deal, Charlie All Night, What the Lady Wants and Fast Women. The new book is called Coffee at Luke's a title which puzzles me a bit. Why that?


Newer Post Older Post Home