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The Chick Lit Controversy – Dorothy Thompson

I talked to three writers about Chick Lit and its role in literature. To each of them I posed five questions.

What does Chick Lit mean to you?

Although I’ve heard various definitions of the word from all kinds of members of the literary sector, to me Chick Lit is like vegetable soup. Throw in some meat (attitude), a few vegetables (sub-characters such as best friends, perhaps a hunk or two), soup broth (the never-ending journey of self-discovery), and herbs (a dash or two of humor and a sprinkling of romance) and what have you got? The perfect mixture for a damn good read.

Why do you like Chick Lit novels?

Chick Lit novels takes you on a fun ride. It’s quirky, full of sass and the perfect anecdote when life takes its tolls.

Is Chick Lit real literature?

Why wouldn’t it be? To me, literature is anything you read. Sure, there are varying forms of literature just as there are various forms of anything. What’s literature to one person may not be to another, but that’s not to say it’s not “worthy.” I don’t care for dark thrillers, but is that to say it’s not worthy? Surely not. Chick Lit is a whole different banana and that’s why some critics have a hard time trying to figure them out. They’ll give a Chick Lit book a bad review, saying it’s not real literature, but what they are really saying is that they haven’t read enough of it to know what’s going on. Sure, there will be bad Chick Lit books just as there will be good ones, but the same goes for any genre.

Does all Chick Lit live by the same format?

Basically, to me, they are all about self-discovery, but they do this in different formats such as hen lit, mystery lit, lad lit, mommy lit, etc., but they all have the basic theme having the main character discover something about herself while doing it in a fun way.

Romancing-the-Soul-Book-CoverIs Chick Lit becoming a loose term to categorize all women’s literature?

I don’t think so. Women’s literature, to me, takes on a different format. I had a book I’d written that I really thought would fit into the hen lit genre, which is a sub-category of chick lit. The main character was sassy, independent, strived to make a name for herself in the world, but I had someone read some of it for me and she classified it as women’s fiction. The reason? Because it focused too much on romance. Go figure. It’s very confusing sometimes.

Read what others have to say about chick lit:

This piece was originally published 9/26/2005 at Literary Fiction, BellaOnline.

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