Okay, so the methodology may not be quite as robust as, say, cancer research, but I’ve come to a conclusion about women’s love of chick lit.
It’s been weighing on my mind lately. After all, if you listen to the critics, the genre is not only dead, it’s six feet under in a box. Sales are down, we’re told by chick lit doyenne Kathy Lette, because the market is “overflooded”. So am I just adding one more unnecessary drop to a basement that’s already under water?
Over on www.goodreads.com I asked: Are the critics right, are women getting tired of chick lit? and Is the genre changing, moving away from light, funny chick lit towards more weighty issues?
The answers were illuminating, if not statistically significant. But they're heartening to this lover of the genre.
Women are saying they use chick lit to provide a little escapism from their often stress-filled lives. “I gravitate to chick lit when I'm busy in my life, then a nice easy read is called for.” says one fan of the genre. “I like having a light read to take my mind off of things.” says another. So like chocolate cake, it exists because we love it. It’s a treat we’re not tiring of.
The genre is changing though, expanding to include weightier issues. This doesn’t propose an either/or dilemma for fans though. The answer is and/and. There will always be demand for well-written books with interesting plot-lines, whether that’s laughing with a newly-landed American in London or crying with a woman struggling with a great loss. There will always be room for us all in the hearts of chick lit fans.