Word Map

October 4th, 2004 · No Comments
by Booksquare

Beatrice rounds up experiences at New York Is Book Country (is it us or does this sound like the slogan for one of the “M” states). Regular Beatrice readers know the blog frequently discusses chicklit — their fair appraisal of the subject is refreshing, especially because men often don’t write about women’s fiction with any sort of understanding. We often think it would be really cool if male book critics would spend more time learning the mores of women’s fiction before leaping into reviewing. Since, unfortunately, popular fiction isn’t taught seriously in most schools, and most boys wouldn’t be caught dead with a romance, the reading experience isn’t there.

However, we digress (please stop feigning shock). Beatrice reports on authors Jennifer Weiner and Stephanie Lehmann as they consider the role of chicklit and momlit in communicating with readers. While these types of books are not prescriptive, they are, often, descriptive. You get to see how other women deal with what’s facing your life — and how they deal with things on your personal horizon. This type of experience sharing is a hallmark of women’s fiction (yes, veering into personal favorite topics) — hidden under hearts and flowers and men who are too good to be true (which women know) is a code of sorts: this is how I did it, this is what I was thinking, this is how I leaped over the tall building….

No two humans experience the same event in the same way. Unless you’re walking on Saturn, however, there’s a good chance that you’ll find someone who’s been where you are first. We are a species that leaves visual clues of our presence; women’s fiction just happens to be one way of saying “I was here.”

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