WWBB on Facebook!

You are invited to post your book links, blurbs, snippets on WWBB's Facebook page. Follow me on Twitter and use @louise_wise for a retweet.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Cookie's Book Club: Women's fiction versus other genres of literature

Women's fiction versus other genres of literature

Today I read an interesting article over at Big Al's Books and Pal's on the topic of differentiating romance and chick lit genres. I think that Donna Fasano, the invited expert, explained the differences quite well. At least they made sense to me.

If I understood her correctly, while each genre may and generally does involve a romantic element the focus of each is different. In the romance novel the romance itself is the focus, whereas in the chick lit novel the romantic relationship is at most a factor in the protagonist's growth or journey. Donna says that in chick lit, "Whether the protagonist ends up with a man is not as relevant as the learning process she experiences through various situations that culminate in her resolving her issues..." See the full article for more: BigAl's Books and Pals: Chick Lit and Romance Fiction / A Defining Moment.

A lively discussion follows this article. I was surprised to find a comment attacking the genres for being 'silly' and 'boring'. For one thing, the comment was not on topic. No one asked for a personal opinion of the genres. Secondly, it was rude and arrogant. The attacker tried to impose his distaste for the genre on others. Third, it wasn't smart, since he is now an author with at least one less potential fan. But I digress.

The comment that the genres are silly and boring did start me thinking: Romance and chick lit have been mocked and belittled for ages, yet they are as popular as ever. No amount of eye-rolling or finger-gagging is going to change the fact that women love these books. But despite their popularity, have the genres truly been accepted as legitimate forms of literature? Yes, we read them, but how many of us are proud of it? Are we more likely to boast about reading a well-known piece of historical fiction or the latest chick-lit favourite?

Click below to be taken to the original article:
Cookie's Book Club: Women's fiction versus other genres of literature


  1. Why should we be ashamed of whatever genre we read? Mostly we read for entertainment, so we should choose whatever we enjoy.

  2. I think it's snobbery, but it gets worse. Pop over to read the rest.

  3. Chick lit is crap lit. It is badly written, has a pointless, slit-your-writs-theme and read by empty headed bimbos.

  4. What an utterly stupid comment, Anonymous. And you obviously realised that else you'd have left your name!

  5. What an ignorant cowardly comment left by that Anonymous poster. I think someone's a bit jealous!!! Women's fiction, chick lit, and romance bring in BILLIONS each year.

    If it's so poorly written, why is the competition so stiff?? If it's so terrible, why are tons of major NY agents repping it?? If the themes are so "slit-your-wrist" why are publishers printing them by the truckload??

    Bottom line, it's enjoyable to read, billions of people enjoy it, and NO ONE has the right to call anyone's work garbage!

    I am extremely proud to admit I read the genre and write it.

  6. Thanks Patsy, Jane and Stephanie. This is the type of ignorance our genre face, and I bet s/he hasn't read chick lit or romance, or any other book for that matter.

    H/she sure as hell didn't bother to click through to the original post!

  7. LW, thanks for sharing my article. To each his or her own opinion, right? But can we not have a little respect when delivering it? Anonymous, if you don't like chick-lit that's perfectly acceptable and I respect your right to make your own reading choices. But attempts to write off an entire genre as if you speak for everyone are not going to work. And name-calling weakens your argument. If that really is your belief, let's see you argue it respectfully and convincingly.