Monday, 26 September 2016

Guest Post - How Chick Lit Has Changed Over The Years

Today I am joined by Caroline Black of Culture Coverage for an fabulously insightful post that I'm sure you'll enjoy as much as I did!

Over to you Caroline:

How Chick Lit Has Changed Over the Years

I always got hung up on the idea of chick lit and never understood how to properly define the word, mostly because it irked me that no one often gives that term out to books that are any good besides Pride & Prejudice.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

While my literature classes were inundated with the kind of female-led texts that could make a modern woman weep from boredom (sorry Chopin lovers, I’d rather read the phone book than take another stab at The Awakening), it’s undeniable that the new stuff has a little bit more pizazz.

Whether it’s because women are writing more today or just because there are fewer restrictions on their freedoms, abilities and dreams, the most recent slew of chick lit has made me a believer in the genre. Here are a few reasons why.

It’s Spicier

No one wants to say it, but I will: Fifty Shades of Grey changed the way people look at chick lit. Sure, some can call it just another romance novel, but it was the romance novel heard around the world. And while it wasn’t the first book that revealed the complicated sex life of the modern women, it did continue the tradition in style. Helen Fielding’s Bridget, Bushnell's Carrie and even Hawthorne’s Hester would approve.

It’s Smarter and More Share-Worthy

Sophie Kinsella doesn’t write your typical heroine, and I would make the case that Helen Fielding doesn’t either. These women aren’t pushing stereotypes of female behavior onto their characters; they’re letting them come alive and fully realized. Who didn’t love Confessions of a Shopaholic, a hair-brained spender with a need for shoes? Or Andrea Sachs of The Devil Wears Prada fame? These women weren’t dumb and they weren’t just in love—they were navigating modern worlds with smarts and pizazz.

It’s Scarier

With Paula Hawkin’s The Girl on The Train now a film, audiences around the world are going to get another dose of a swoon-worthy mystery with a woman at its center. It’s only one of the many recent stories that revolve around mischief, mayhem and conflicted, complicated heroines. Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl sparked interest even before it was turned into a movie by Ben Affleck. After it had hit the big screen, it exploded across the consciousness of moviegoers for it’s fresh (i.e. rare) exposure of female sexuality. Cue in Marvel’s comic book heroine Jessica Jones, with a show currently streaming on US Netflix, for its openness to discuss rape, sex, and gender fluidity, and you’ve got a great reason to head for the next Comic Con even if your heart is more in the romance section.

It’s Still Romantic

When Nora Ephron set out to make You’ve Got Mail, it was a remake of an old movie about letters. For the modern world, letters weren’t going to be such a mass draw for audiences, but the email angle was just right. For books that still grasp the romantic spirit with modern heroines, Marian Keyes is one author that still keeps things classic as well as full-on romantic. From Sushi for Beginners to Anybody out There?, the whimsical meet-cute scenario is still alive and well.

It’s Starting Younger

Some of my favorite chick lit genre authors are technically masters of teen fiction, and that’s a good thing. From Louise Rennison’s Angus, Thongs, and the Full-Frontal Snogging to Don’t Judge A Girl By Her Cover by Ally Carter, the heroines populating the tween and teen chick lit shelves aren’t just captivating the younger set but captivating audiences of every gender, age and nationality with fun, wit and great plotlines. If you look at Meg Cabot’s The Princess Diaries, it may have been girly, but it changed the way people think about princesses. That’s certainly something to celebrate.

Have you got a girl power series that you can’t get enough of? Maybe a one hit wonder that delights you every time you get to name it in your book group as your favorite piece of chick lit? Share your thoughts in the comment section so I can get on the bandwagon and introduce myself to new titles!

About the Author: Caroline is an avid reader and entertainment junkie. Although she loves a good story and an even better movie, she’s still of the impression that the book is always better. The exception to this is Bridget Jones’ Diary—that one is a knockout in both regards! You can read more of Caroline’s thoughts on entertainment at or find her on Twitter at: @CultureCovC

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