Tuesday 28 June 2011

That's IT!!!

I have held my tongue long enough but I'm afraid I'm going to rant.


It's bad enough I have to avoid chick lit with patronising and trite phrases such as 'slummy mummy' or 'bridget jones wannabe' but when I try to move out that genre and still find women's writing lacking, we have a problem. I am careful to move along the bookcase, avoiding blurbs that start '40 year old soandso is newlydivorced' or '20 something FuFu wants to find a man'. I know I won't relate to this literature. I am not the sit and wait type. Life won't come and find you, you have to make things happen.

I struggle to find a book that I want to devote time I could be spending knitting. I am however, a book worm and I love nothing better than a book store, especially second hand. I daresay I may like the joy of book shopping more than yarn shopping (not loudly, mind, I could be disowned by my knit sibs). 

I was gleeful when my knit group girls suggested starting a book group. We chose a book based on enjoying the debut novel. We all agreed follow ups were hard and it could be a great 'debate' book if it was not what we were all hoping.
What I didn't expect was another diatribe of unrequited, obsessive love. It smacked of Twilight and women who want to be worshiped for all their flaws and pandered to in a way that makes me feel quite sick. YES, I want love. YES, I want to be loved. But NO I do not want to become a parody of all the weak and pathetic things women can be in order to get there.  I feel guilty just looking at the female characters of some books I've read lately, I feel I'm putting other women down just by giving them my attention. We all have flaws, but some held under a microscope are desperate to say the least.

Some home truths might be in order:
- If you've run out of love stories, using supernatural characters always means you're on shaky ground (even if they are later cast to look like Robert Pattinson). I'm a secret sci fi/fantasy geek but really? Don't mix genres and hope to make a True Love story. I'll tke my ghosts malevolent and my vampires wicked thank you (which is why Eric always trumps Bill sadly, despit Bill's sexy 'Sookie!!' yells).
- If you're female heroine has to be deceptive, needy or manipulative to get her man, you need to seriously scrutinise your attitude to relationships. 
- If I, as a neurotic disaster case cannot identify with a woman you've created with the same MO? Move on.
- If the father in the story is estranged but every man goes weak at the knees whenever they see your female lead? Call your Dad, believe me, he probably wonders why you never do. 


Normal playful service will resume shortly.


ImplausibleYarn said...


Unknown said...

I was at the bookstore recently and I felt the same way! The kind lady trying to help me out was clueless. If I want romance, I'll read the only series of romance novels I love (Karen Moning's Highlander series. Nothing is sexier than a time travelling Druid Scotsman from the 16th century) but other than that, I don't want love in my books.

I don't want vampires of any sort and I don't want werewolves either. And I hate this new line of alpha females that are incredibly hot, with low self esteem but they're shooting up bad guys and spouting out oneliners. Then they're swept off their feet by the bad guy that they can't help but love and then turn into brain dead zombies. I would love to see in a fantasy/scifi book, the archetype of the young naive adventurer as a female. That could be interesting.

On the other hand, I'm also a little tired of the angst ridden, young naive male as the lead. It worked for Frodo Baggins but really, it's worn thin. Robert Jordan, this comment is directed at you! :D

Amber said...

Which is why I don't read anything from the Romance section, because it's NOT REAL. It's so hard to find a good book these days. Which, I'm pretty sure is why I read a lot of non-fiction.
Did you ever read the Hunger Games series?

behind the ivy said...

I wholeheartedly agree!

Anonymous said...

Here's a book you'll probably enjoy, "The Lacuna" by Barbara Kingsolver. Amazing. Seriously. Also, did you read "The Help"? For trashy stuff I've been reading the Fever series and it's been fun. The lead is sort of wishy washy but she has redeeming moments. I also liked Soulless, the Parasol Protectorate.

Anonymous said...

Popular fiction is no different to Hollywood cinema - conservative pap funded by money-obsessed dullards who think the general public deserves no better. A few books by women that I have enjoyed in the last year:

The thing around your neck - Chimanda Ngozi Adichie
Your presence is requested at Suvanto – Maile Chapman
Helpless – Barbara Gowdy
Fruit of the lemon – Andrea Levy
How to breathe underwater – Julie Orringe
After the fire, a small still voice - Evie Wyld
The still point - Amy Sackville
A change of climate - Hilary Mantel