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Jennifer Weiner writes what is sometimes promoted as "literary chick lit." What it really is are (usually) pretty serious stories that revolve around women. I still think her best effort was her first, Good in Bed, which pretty seriously tackled the topic of obesity, or at least tried to. Refreshingly, it did NOT start with an unhappy fat heroine and end with a skinny happy one. However, it also didn't bother with the distinction of real obesity and just bigness. It's a medical fact that some people we would consider "fat" are in fact perfectly healthy. But I digress. Her second effort, In Her Shoes was just stupid and I have no idea why they made a movie out of it. And I digress again.

Little Earthquakes revolves around a trio of pregnant women and how their lives change when they have babies. Becky is a successful chef whose mother-in-law keeps wanting to commandeer--um, everything. Kelly is a power planner who is thrown for a loop when her husband loses his prior to their child's birth, epically tightening financial issues and when she has to return to work. Ayinde is a former reporter now married to a football star, who now can't go back to work because she'd more of a curiosity to viewers (what's she wearing? how's she losing the weight?) rather than a truly serious reporter. And lastly there's Lia, whose own baby has died, and how she comes to terms with this when she meets the other women.

So here's a question for us: Why don't we take this stuff seriously? Anyone will acknowledge that parenthood, particularly for women, is one of the hardest, most demanding tasks in the world, and one that lasts ALL YOUR LIFE. So why is a book like this considered fluffy?

That said, it's not particularly well-written. Real, I suppose, but not well-written. I think it would help if the men's points of view were actually given now and again so we could actually compare what was going through their minds. I also simultaneously admire/am annoyed with little details about what men do--like do the laundry but forget to dry it, or fold it but don't put it up because they assume the women will do it (I guess). Maybe it's a generational thing but I don't see guys really doing this, or if they do being men we'd have to view as being the really worthy guys.

So: It's like reading about all the friends you can't stand. Most of the time you think how you'd fix everything if only they'd listen to you.

Comments

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caitri
Jan. 15th, 2006 06:15 pm (UTC)
I read randomly, what can I say. Plus chick lit is great for the commute. Also if you have any recommendations that would be nice: right now I'm reading "Finding Serenity," finishing up "Son of a Witch," and am about to start Rutherford's "London."

As for the other, something I kept thinking as I was reading was, even if a guy wrote a not-so-well written book about some usual guy thing--being in the army, something like that--we would make a big deal about the seriousness of it. We DON'T do that with family stuff. Equally interesting is how chick lit tends to take a likewise fluffy view of parenthood: a lot of novels with "happily ever afters" end in new pregnancies etc. What I do like about this book is how it really underlines the daily struggle of it all.
( 2 comments — Add your .02 )

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