Sunday, February 2, 2014

Question of the Month: "Chick Lit"

I just read this New Yorker article about Jennifer Weiner's complaints concerning how her books are (mis)treated. She makes a noble and worthy argument on the state of books by women, which are ignored and often belittled, but then slightly confuses matters by comparing apples to oranges. No one is in fact comparing her to Chaucer, nor should they, and elite male authors do often seem to be held in esteem as if they were the father of poetry himself, which is irritating, misguided, and often absurd. But there are different categories of fiction in the world, and to make an accurate comparison of a commercial fiction book with a literary fiction book is not necessarily a cogent argument for gender inequality. Wouldn't Weiner do much better to insist on parity with the likes of Stephen King or Dan Brown--she should be treated like those highly successful, very good, male writers of commercial fiction. She should be compared favorably in the category in which she writes, and c'mon, of course she should be reviewed in the New York Times Book Review! To ignore her is ridiculous. But why maudlin Franzen would even occur as her likely comparator is a mystery to me. Your thoughts on the matter?

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