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Posts Tagged ‘chick lit’

TwentiesGirlI just finished reading Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella this morning. It wasn’t my plan to read it. I went to the library Wednesday to pick up The Day the Falls Stood Still that I had on hold (which I’m really excited about) and did some book browsing. I found it on the new books shelf and figured why not. If I didn’t like it I could just put it down….and I almost did.

Here’s the synopsis:

Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie–a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance–mysteriously appears, she has one last request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, and Sadie cannot rest without it. Lara, on the other hand, has a number of ongoing distractions. Her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, her start-up company is floundering, and she’s just been dumped by the “perfect” man.

Sadie, however, could care less.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from each other along the way. (from Random House)

For the first good bit I was wondering why I was reading it. It’s the same formulaic chic lit plot with the over-the-top embarrassing situations, money woes, and naive characters. I almost put it down. Twice.

But I’m glad I finished. I know this will sound corny, but in some ways it was a little more than the regular chic lit. Of course, there’s romance and embarrassing moment after embarrassing moment, but in the end it’s about family. Kind of. It made you, or at least me, wonder what you’re long-lost realtives were like in their youth. They weren’t always old.  What were they like? Anyways…

It was an enjoyable, quick read. Longer than most chic lit books…pushing 500 pages. I think one thing I enjoyed was that the end was not about Lara’s life being “fixed” or a happily-ever-after ending, although those were definitely there. It was a nice departure from the normal chic lit, not too far. I’d say it’s a favorite…for chic lit, that is.

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The Queen of Babble series (Meg Cabot) is one I’ve had my eye on for awhile and it turned out to be my road trip reading for the summer. Of course, it follows the traditional chick lit pattern. Quirky 20-something with a flaw meets the perfect guy…

My first impression was that some people might be surprised with some of the content of the novels if they’re expecting something more along the lines of The Princess Diaries!

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Queen of Babble was probably the one I enjoyed the most. It was the simplest chick lit plot with our heroine, Lizzie Nichols, a mean girl, the crush (Luke), and a helpful knack for vintage and sewing. Lizzie’s passion for vintage clothes and wedding gown restoration was definitely a fun part of the series. I have to say though that Lizzie is quite a stupid and extremely naive girl in the beginning and while that changes through the series there’s not significant growth. On one hand that’s to be expected from this genre…but you kind of hope that characters grow.

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The Queen of Babble in the Big City drops the “L-word,” as in living together, but let’s just say it’s a little hint at something else to be revealed. Here’s where things went wrong for me. Cabot spends the first novel setting up a romance between Lizzie and Luke, paints Luke as this amazing dream guy who really is quite a good guy, and then in this book he’s not so great anymore and their relationship becomes quite bland. The high point here is the story of Lizzie and her work in wedding gown restoration, and the story there.

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Finally, Queen of Babble in the Big City leaves a bit of a cliffhanger that gets picked up in Queen of Babble Gets Hitched. So, all seems to be going well with Lizzie and Luke and from the title you assume that it’s their wedding the title references. And, it may be…maybe. I did not like how it ended and felt that it was a cop out. I don’t want to give too much away, but Lizzie changes her views and dreams for someone that did not fall in line at all with her character. While sometimes this might be part of a character’s growth this was, I felt, a complete change of character and went against the storyline. So…I didn’t like it. My opinion, obviously, I’m not the author. 😉

What did surprise me is the amount of, I’ll put it bluntly, sex. In the first novel, it seems to be thrown in as a bit of a shocker. The second, it’s part of the background and in the third I don’t even remember at this point…I was kind of reading it just to finish the series. It was weird. Not at all natural. It came across like someone trying to be cooler than they are.

Another thing that I did think was odd throughout the series is that the premise of Lizzie’s fault (and the title of the books) is her big mouth. Usually you would find this quality to be excessive in a chick lit novel (or movie) in someone whose not supposed to be able to keep a secret or hold a discretionary tongue…but Lizzie’s “big mouth” was quite minor. And all the trouble it’s supposed to put her in…where was it?

After this…I’m done with chick lit. At least for awhile.

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6a00c2252c91b0f21900e398ac92a60003-500piI was book browsing last week at the library and feeling the need for a little pick me up and came across The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella. Now, I didn’t love Confessions of a Shopaholic (see my review here), but I wasn’t turned off of Kinsella as a author. The Undomestic Goddess sounded like a fun read and it was.

I enjoyed Samantha Sweeting so much more than Becky Bloomwood, but that’s just me.

Here’s the synopsis:

Workaholic attorney Samantha Sweeting has just done the unthinkable. She’s made a mistake so huge, it’ll wreck any chance of a partnership. (We’re talking $50 million dollar big!)

Going into utter meltdown, she walks out of her London office, gets on a train, and ends up in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she’s mistaken for an interviewee and finds herself being offered a job as housekeeper. Her employers have no idea they’ve hired a lawyer–and Samantha has no idea how to work the oven. She can’t sew on a button, bake a potato, or get the #@%# ironing board to open. How she takes a deep breath and begins to cope–and finds love–is a story as delicious as the bread she learns to bake.

But will her old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

It’s the same basic chick lit plot, but I think where I was pulled in is when Samantha runs away and starts living. I know when things seem to be melting down all around me that’s what I want to do. Of course, there’s the classic “Am I going to get caught?” and the silliness of Sam not knowing how to use a washing machine (does she get her underwear dry cleaned too?), but where the realism is for me is her growth.

She grows from being so concerned with success as a lawyer and pleases everyone to enjoying life, making real friends, and having a moment to herself. She begins to appreciate life and living. Plus, I loved the romance aspect.

It was a fun, quick (just a few hours), and entertaining read. After this I think I’m going to give Becky Bloomwood another try…maybe the rest of the Shopaholic series will grow on me. Maybe.

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6a00d09e4893e4be2b00cdf7ef2751094f-500piI finally picked up a copy of Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella, mostly so I could see the movie. Which sounds kind of lame, but I like to read the book before I see an adaptation. Just me.

Let me just say this: painful.

That’s what it was for me. It starts out as a fun little story about Becky Bloomwood a woman with a mediocre job as a finance journalist with an obsession for anything carrying a price tag. Harmless, right? I mean, come on, it’s fiction. It’s not like it’s real or anything.

But from my squirming reactions, you’d think it was. It was so painful to see Ms. Bloomwood make purchase after purchase with maxed out credit cards. Maybe I’m a little crazy, but I grew-up in a family that operated debt-free and potential purchases were always met with the question, “Do you really need that?” My husband and I also live debt-free, so to think of the real-life ramifications of owing thousands of dollars to credit card companies for things you don’t need is just a bit unnerving.

Other than the obvious financial frivoliousity, which is noted in the book’s tagline “Going broke was never this much fun,” Confessions of a Shopaholic meets the standards of chick lit. Girl has problem, girl meets boy, girl goes through a series of trials, boy and girl hook-up, everything ends happy.

I do wish that there were a few more confessions other than the heroines shopping woes, say her onslaught of lies? Really, is there no responsibility left even in fiction? Shouldn’t she have to “man-up,” so to speak, and face her friends and family with the truth?

I know it’s fiction, but geez can’t we get some resolution past the inevitable boy-meets-girl happy ending?

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n219367This was one of the books I picked up on a whim. To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed by this pick. It’s chick lit.

The premise of How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls,

Yale graduate Megan Smith has big plans for a career in journalism  and even bigger debt: $75,000 in college loans. She grabs a job at a trashy tabloid, gets fired (small wonder: nothing can make her care which celebrity just got a nose job), and then gets an offer she just can’t refuse.
Seventeen-year-old identical twins rose and Sage Baker are Palm Beach heiresses best known for their massive fortunes and penchant for flashing the paparazzi. Their grandmother offers to pay off Megan’s loans if she can tutor the girls and get them into Duke. But the twins aren’t about to bend their celebutante schedules to learn algebra. Megan quickly discovers that she has to know her Pucci from her Prada to reach these students. If she can look the part, maybe–just maybe–she can teach them something. What Megan could never imagine is what the whole experience is about to teach her…

It’s a predictable novel. I mean, come on, it’s chick lit! It’s a nice little story minus the profanity, promiscuity, underage drinking, lying,  unbelievable naivety of an adult, etc…

Why did I keep reading it? The story is catchy and…I was hoping all the other stuff would just go away. You know how some books (and movies) start off with objectionable material and then as the story progresses the objectionable material subsides–that’s what I was expecting.

Take out the junk and it’s a cute story…but otherwise…it’s tainted.

How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls has been adapted to as the  TV series Privileged on the WB.

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I had seen Me & Mr. Darcy by Alexandra Potter around a few different places and being an Austen fan I thought I might enjoy it.large_79949

I tried. But there were so many problems with the book. The biggest is that the character that’s supposed to represent Mr. Darcy is a big jerk, to put it lightly. It’s one thing for Mr. Darcy to be prideful, but he does have good moral character. And Emily (ie, Elizabeth) was just unbecoming and annoying.

Then there’s this whole alternate time-and-space continuum, I don’t know what, happening. Where the “real” Mr. Darcy keeps showing up in random places and asks Emily why she’s dressed so weird and etc. These sections were awkward and poorly written.

This novel is a chick lit attempt of taking a classic novel with great characters and turning it into a fast-paced, modernized romance and trying to fit it into the current media mold. Bottom line: It doesn’t work.

I wouldn’t waste your time.

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