From the bestselling Bridget Jones's Diary that started the trend to the television sensation Sex and the City that captured it on screen, "chick lit" has become a major pop culture phenomenon. Banking on female audiences' identification with single, urban characters who struggle with the same life challenges, publishers have earned millions and even created separate imprints dedicated to the genre. Not surprisingly, some highbrow critics have dismissed chick lit as trashy fiction, but fans have argued that it is as empowering as it is entertaining.
This is the first volume of its kind to examine the chick lit phenomenon from a variety of angles, accounting for both its popularity and the intense reactions-positive and negative-it has provoked. The contributors explore the characteristics that cause readers to attach the moniker "chick" to a particular book and what, if anything, distinguishes the category of chick lit from the works of Jane Austen on one end and Harlequin romance novels on the other. They critique the genre from a range of critical perspectives, considering its conflicted relationship with feminism and postfeminism, heterosexual romance, body image, and consumerism. The fourteen original essays gathered here also explore such trends and subgenres as "Sistah Lit," "Mommy Lit," and "Chick Lit Jr.," as well as regional variations.
As the first book to consider the genre seriously, Chick Lit offers real insight into a new generation of women's fiction.
"In this pioneering book female critics take a serious look at what the genre has begotten thus far and consider its place in literary history, which has long cast a dubious eye on books written by women solely to please themselves and other women." -- Tania Modleski, author of Loving with a Vengeance: Mass-Produced Fantasies for Women
"Valuable addition to the field, not only of gender and popular culture but of feminism in general." --College Literature