Chicklit Schmicklit

As an avid reader of Gawker, I was very excited to see the cover of my book FRESH OFF THE BOAT on its homepage. Of course, it was in a “chicklit chart” that Print magazine had put together, showing how all the chicklit books look the same — pink covers, martini glasses, high heels, etc. The title of the Gawker item was “Gloria Steinem would be proud”. Here is the chart.

I guess if I didn’t have a sense of humor, I would be kind of offended…but gladly, I do, and I *love* that Fresh off the Boat’s cover is on Gawker!!! YAY!! It brought a huge grin to my face.

And as for all the chicklit bashing…PSHAWWWW!!!… As Meg Cabot so rightly put it “there isn’t a container in the universe small enough to hold my concern about being called a chicklit writer” (I am paraphrasing here, but you get what she is saying.)

Chicklit, schmicklit. Who cares??? I write books. Media, marketing, publishing, sales…they need CATEGORIES. They need to put us all in boxes. So they LABEL you — “romance writer” “fashion writer” “chicklit writer”. Whatevah. I like to say I write “chic lit” myself.

And I think Gloria Steinem WOULD be proud–we women scribblers (PG Wodehouse in his Jeeves books always writes about “this passel of women scribblers”–but in the books he also points out that they sell like gangbusters and are very practical women–it’s hilarious and I love his depiction of them)–anyway, we women scribblers are writing our way to independence…we make enough money so that we can pay for all our Manolos, our martinis, our four-star vacations… I don’t have to ask my husband to pay for any of my fashion frivolities, because of the money I make from writing my candy-covered books, I can INDULGE in anything I want…

And so what if it is frivolous? We need more frivolity in this world! MORE not LESS!! There’s a sniffy comment on Gawker about how the first chapter of this chicklit book is concerned with answering the question “WHERE ARE MY MANOLOS???”

Is that a bad thing? It actually made me want to read the book! Where ARE my Manolos?? Hee.

My books have been called “guilty pleasures” “shameful indulgences” “total entertainment” “decadent escapism”. I have to say, no one should feel guilty or ashamed to read something that is FUN, LIGHT- HEARTED and ENTERTAINING. I think those are all great qualities in books.

We all live in the real world right? In the real world, not all the boys are hotties, not all your friends are loyal, brave and true, and not everything works out with a happy ending. There’s so much sadness and wretchedness in the world already. Not everyone wears leopard-print Cavalli caftans and four-inch heels to go grocery shopping in. (But everyone SHOULD. It would be a much sunnier world if we all dressed like Mrs. Roper meets Paris Hilton on acid. Hee.)

I live in the real world. Where there’s cancer and illness and sadness and miscarraiges and friends who don’t turn out to be worth the friendship and trust issues and money freakouts and bankruptcy and foreclosures and wars and death and terrorists and all that awful stuff…I was in New York during 9/11 and I cannot sit through the trailer for that stupid Oliver Stone movie without crying (just thinking of it right now makes me tear up)…part of it is anger that he has made a movie about this (I didn’t see United 93 either, I refuse) and part of it is because anytime I see anything about that awful day I remember sitting in my apartment in a fetal position frantically trying to reach my husband who was working downtown (he was fine, he walked thirty blocks and caught a cab with nice British strangers since we lived 100 blocks up) and calling all my friends who lived and worked downtown to make sure they were all OK (they were all OK)…and for six months after that none of us could talk about anything else. We were so scared. Oy. And I remember that winter, an editor at Gotham asking me to do a fun, frothy serial novel for the magazine, because he was convinced what New York needed right then was some good frothy fun, and he was right.

So yes, I know life is not always megafun like an endless summer in the Hamptons nor will I ever need to use my vampire superpowers to bring peace to my immortal people. But oh, isn’t it fun to READ and WRITE about what that would be like?

I think so.

Back to Masquerade! My agent just handed me my ass on a platter since this book is sooo late. So I’ll be keeping vampire hours for the next two weeks as I wrestle this book to the ground and finally turn it in…