Chick-lit—that is an odd sounding term which makes me think of the gum (chicklets). It’s a genre designation that has been in use for a few years now so I wouldn’t be surprised that those in the reading community have heard of it, but what does it really mean? Where did it originate and come from?
To put it simply, chick-lit is primarily about young women in their 20’s or 30’s dealing with life (though new subgenre’s include several different races and age groups). It contains a light, humorous and most importantly confiding tone—almost always in the first person. The themes focus around love, relationships, friendships, professional dilemmas, and a penchant for fashion—usually facing hilarious and embarrassing situations. But what it all comes down to is the heroine figuring out herself and what she really wants out of life. There is usually some kind of epiphany that blows her mind away and finally she can see clearly about what she really wants—or more importantly—needs.
The expression ‘Chicklit’ came about back in 1995 as a satirical title for the anthology: Chicklit: Proto-feminist Fiction. This new step in the women’s movement within literature would encompass a larger part of a woman’s experiences—loves and losses, relationships, and their lives as a whole.But it was perhaps books such as Bridgette Jones’s Diary by Helen Fielding and Sex in the City by Candace Bushnell that propelled the genre into the limelight and into the hands of eager and waiting women. This trend in women’s fiction took off until it has become one of the most popular in their demographic—ie: The Devil Wore Prada or The Nanny Diaries. And there are so many off-shoots now including Christian chick-lit from authors such as Kristin Billerbeck which have really been growing in that market.
Chick-lit is a different genre completely from romance because the focus is on the woman and how she navigates her way through the twists and turns life throws at her. But the romantic angle is usually at the forefront of the story in some way. In fact, Chick-lit is more akin to Women’s Fiction. The difference is in the tone. Chick-lit can be very fun and light and yet find the way to hit those import topics that many of us women struggle with on a daily basis—be it our weight or the impossible boss at work. Some critics have put-down the genre as just being ‘fluff’ about fashion-obsessed women who’s only focus is on when they’ll walk down the aisle. Yet in truth, these books find a way to deal with serious subject matter, putting these heroines into realistic ordeals that readers can really relate to.And what about the whole ‘Happily Ever After’ ending that we romance readers crave? This is another difference in chick-lit. They do not always end in an HEA for the heroine and her love interest. But instead it concludes in such a way that it seems to be in the best interest of the heroine.
Today, I’d love to know if you’ve read any chick-lit and what you think of this genre. Any favorite authors or books? I personally think they are very fun to read. I love the tone and the ‘voice’ of these heroines. And it didn’t take time for me to dive into writing the genre myself. Feel free to visit my website and read a couple excerpts from my chick-lit novella, Meeting Mr. Right Online, and a make a choice for yourself about the genre.**********
Cindy K. Green is a multi-published author with degrees in History and Education. Previously a middle school English & History teacher, she now homeschools her own children and writes in several genres: Inspirational, Contemporary, Suspense and Historical romance. Find out more about Cindy and her books at http://www.cindykgreen.com/.