I recently picked up The Jane Austen Marriage Manual by Kim Izzo. Bit of a departure from the last book I mentioned on this blog (which one the Giller for fiction), am I right? And it’s very obviously chick lit. While I love Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion I’ve never been a serious Austen addict, but I just really wanted something fun and fluffy.
The only problem is that chick lit is rarely very well written. It’s usually incredibly mediocre when you get down to it. Oh sure the plot is exciting and funny and fantastic, but the writing and character development blow. Why is that? Is it that publishers think that women don’t care if their novels are well-written? And while Twilight would suggest that most don’t, I would argue that hopefully that is not the case. Or is it that really good writers just don’t care about happiness or making making people happy? Why does literature have to be incredibly depressing in order to be considered good? Why can’t things be funny and well-written while being written for a female audience?
These are legit questions. I’m not very far into The Jane Austen Marriage Manual but the prospect modern day Mr. Darcy is very appealing. Perhaps Kim Izzo will break the mold. We shall see. Until then, editors, writers, and people who pen crap fan fiction: character development is ALWAYS necessary. Clichés are to be avoided at all costs. And no, we won’t just read any old garbage with a good-looking lead character, we’re not all that shallow.