Tag: chicklit

Where We Belong by Emily Giffin

I needed to wash my brain of the Fifty Shades series, but I didn’t want anything too arduous or deep either. I have read all of Emily Giffin’s books by now. I know what to expect with her, in that she brings all of her female characters through journeys. Ones that are real, emotional, and full of actual development.

Many of Giffin’s books are the same way. All of them feature thirtysomething women. All of them have been set somewhat in New York City or in that tristate area. All of the women and most of their circle are Caucasian. They are all firmly Upper Middle Class or are by the time of the books. I differ from these protagonists in age, socio-economics, and ethnicity, and yet, I really like Giffin’s brand of chick lit. She forces all of her women to go through emotional upheavals and change themselves. They are usually women who are good, flawed and therefore, human. They actually grow and develop in the books! I love that in characters.

There is a faint formula in all her works, but they all feel really similar in a good way. Still, it would be boring if they were all exactly a like. I think this is definitely one of my favourite of her works.

The book deals with two characters, adoption, and the relationships around that. The first person narratives switches from Marian (token Giffin protagonist) and her daughter Kirby whom she gave up for adoption. The story weaves how their relationship develops after they meet again, and all the relationships around it from Kirby’s adopted family to Marian’s family and friends and to Conrad, Kirby’s biological father.

Adoption is a very interesting topic for me. It always has been. I am not adopted and I do not have any friends who were, but it has always appealed to me. I don’t always read books about it either, but this is one of those times, when an author I like explores a topic I am fascinated by.

It really worked out because I found this touching and realistic. Kirby is really self-possessed for a teenager, but she still retains that awkwardness, obstinacy, and dismissiveness that plagues many a teenage girl. Also, where were guys like Philip Chang or Conrad Knight when I was a teenager? Giffin also makes so many of her male love interests dreamy… even the adolescent ones! Well, it isn’t chicklit if there isn’t charming men.

Another reason I like Giffin’s books are that they are all connected in some way. They happen in this same universe where many of the female protagonists know each other. Sometimes the connection is tenuous, but often like in this book, they are close friends. Marian is best friends with Claudia from Baby Proof. This gives the loyal reader an icing on the cake snippet of other previous protagonists. Generally, it means just an update to say, “They are still happy!” But whatever, it’s nice because readers get attached and all.

Something that I really liked about this book that stood out is the ending. This is chick lit so the ending is almost always happily ever after, and they usually are with her books. I won’t spoil and the ending is a happy one, but not quite conventional. For awhile there, it was looking to get into cheese factory, but I was very pleased with the real result. It is different than her usual endings, but then again, she could change it so that in the update Marian ends up with “X”. That wouldn’t bother me too much, but I liked how Giffin took a different road this time.

Read September 2nd, 2012.

I've got your number by sophie kinsella

There are moments in every book by Sophie Kinsella where I become annoyed by the female protagonist. Then I wonder momentarily why I keep reading her books since I’ve read almost all of them. I find the Shopaholic series’s protagonist the most annoying, and yet, I still continue to read those books. I don’t read a lot of chick lit, but there are a couple of chick lit authors who I tend to read. Kinsella is one of them because as annoying and unrelatable as her protagonists tend to be, I always feel satisfied by the end of her books. In this novel, Poppy, the protagonist, steals a phone and is ridiculously nosy and intrusive. There’s always silliness in Kinsella’s plots. In this one, she even employs footnotes which I ignored a lot of the time because I was reading it on Kindle which meant I had to stop and move my rudimentary cursor to click on the hyperlink. The protagonist goes head long into situations, makes a mess of things, and in the end, everything turns out ok. Somehow every time, Kinsella manages to charm me with some of the dialogue and the ending. I think there are genuinely cute and humorous lines in her books especially when it is used in dialogue for the bantering between the female and male leads. I always get swept up in and slightly irked by the mess the character makes, but feel good when everything turns out alright for her (after she learns some things about herself of course) and she gets the guy. The books are nice and easy reads. They are short and in my case, somewhat addictive. Even though Kinsella’s books are based in reality (except Twenties Girl), I often feel they are taking place in a parallel universe. The female protagonists are such a disarray at the beginning, but in a short amount of time, they gain a lot of self-growth and a very good looking, successful (and usually wealthy) partner to boot. If only life were like that! That’s what escapist female literature is for I guess. I’ll still read Kinsella’s books; I liked this one as much as the others. They are reliable in their ability to make me feel a bit better.

Read on Kindle February 25th, 2012.

remember me? So, I have read all of Sophie Kinsella’s books. I am going to admit that the shopaholic series protagonist Becky Bloomwood can be grating, but for some reason, I keep reading the books. Kinsella still has the opportunity to make me laugh or chuckle once in a book, and I did really like Can You Keep a Secret?. I keep hoping I’ll like the others books as much, and I do prefer Kinsella over Meg Cabot most of the time. This book has a great concept: what if you did get amnesia and woke up to a totally different time in your life? I’ve wondered about it myself. The book has its amusing moments as Kinsella’s books often do, but I found the characters sometimes more grating than in her previous books. Though, I think I like the ending of this book more than in The Undomestic Goddess (which had less annoying characters but with ambivalent ending). These are fluffy chicklit novels; I don’t really expect a lot of depth from them. They don’t even take that much time. This book took me a couple hours of reading. They do allow a little distraction from daily life, and I will keep reading Kinsella’s books as a result.

When I started this novel reading about Becky Brandon (nee Bloomwood) coveting Dior baby items, I wondered why I was still reading this series. Becky is still the consummate consumer, lies to her husband Luke a tad too much about it, and as much I personally like fashion and designer clothing, I can not imagine buying myself that many luxury items for a baby, let alone for myself. Then, as usual, Sophie Kinsella’s amusing and outlandish story-lines and dialogue started to suck me in. I quite enjoy a good chicklit novel, but I only really read and follow the works of a few authors such as Kinsella, Emily Griffin, and Meghan McCaffrey. There is something so relaxing about reading these novels; I love how fast the story moves along. I also really like how in the end, the mean people do get what’s coming to them, all the loose ends are tied and the female protagonist has her man, family, friends, and in this case, baby with her happily. It may not be substantial, but it’s rather nice to get away with. Kinsella always makes me laugh out loud at least once in her books. I do think my favourite has to be Can You Keep a Secret?, but I have been reading the Shopaholic series for years now. I always try to finish and continue the series if it’s tolerable enough. Yes, they are rather predictable, but that’s part of the fun with established storylines and characters. It’s frivolous and fun reading at its best, distracting and relaxing.

Northanger Abbey by Jane AustenI’ve had this book for awhile, but I was about averse to starting it thinking it was long. Partly because I read Emma last November, and it took me awhile since it was November and Emma is the longest of the Austen books. My copy of NA just looked long, and it did not take me long to read. I liked it even though Cathy was a bit silly in the middle with her over reactive imagination. She is naive, but not so irritating as other characters named Catherine (hello, Wuthering Heights). Mr Tilney amused me with the teasing. Now, NA is Austen’s satire and mocking of gothic novels which makes the novel a bit meta in the nice way. I don’t think NA is nearly as enjoyable or satisfying as Persuasion or Pride and Prejudice (my favourites), but it’s light, quick, and moved adequately enough.

Northanger Abbey (ITV 2007)This ITV Jane Austen season adaptation is my second from the season. I previously saw Persuasion which I enjoyed for all its cheesy ending. A lot of people find this to have been the best of the three adaptations, and I can see why because it was fun and witty. Andrew Davies adapted it, and he really is one of the best at adapting scripts having done the 1995 P&P, Wives and Daughters (two of my favourite period dramas) and the upcoming Sense and Sensibility. He seems to have a lot of fun with NA because it was very charming with added fantasy scenes. I also thought the casting was good on this; I enjoyed the ITV Persuasion for a similar reason. I really liked JJ Feild as Mr Tilney; he doesn’t look conventionally handsome in pictures, but he lends himself well to the character. I remember watching a young Felicity Jones in The Worst Witch and Weirdsister College. I found her amiable and sweet in this, and both had nice chemistry too. So, I’m two for two now for the JA season. I’ll have to watch Mansfield Park now to see if I like that too, but I haven’t and don’t plan on reading MP for awhile. Though, I’m already predisposed to Billie Piper. I’ll have an excuse to see JJ Feild again in The Ruby in the Smoke (by Philip Pullman), also starring Piper, which I plan to read and watch sometime in the near future.

Charmed Thirds This is the first book I’ve actually finished since February. It’s always depressing when I realize that I haven’t actually read a complete book in a month. In any case, I said I was going to read Northanger Abbey next or finish The Best American Travel Writing 2006, but I have been stressed and tired. I wanted to read and finish something that I knew would be quick and relatively light. That doesn’t mean I’m still not able to reflect afterwards. I always found this series to be one of the better “chicklit” books I’ve read. It’s been almost four years since I read the first two books in the series: Sloppy Firsts and Second Helpings. When Jessica Darling, the protagonist, was in high school, I was in high school, and now the book is her college life, and I’m in college. It’s quite apt to say the least. I did relate to her a lot in this book, more than in the previous two books. Or maybe, as I’ve discovered last year, the older I get, the more I am able to project my life and issues into every book I read. In any case, I can relate to the loner status, the family angst, the what the hell am I going to do after I get my undergrad? issue, etc. I’ve always found McCafferty better at doing growing up, chicklit style novels than Meg Cabot or Louise Rennison. I also feel that she’s got slightly more ‘substance’ than Sophie Kinsella and the others too. So yeah, I enjoyed the few hours I had with the book to reminded myself of a few things in a refreshing way without being heavy.

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50 Things She Wishes You Knew – Men’s Health is better than Cosmopolitan.