Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Peep-Peep Curtis

Curtis Sittenfeld has a new book out in May titled The Man of My Dreams. A little bird (maybe even a chick) told me it looks an awful lot like chick-lit. At least, the title’s very chicky! Take a look at this cover (and I'm sorry it's such a weird shape--Amazon doesn't like me):

(Reminds me an AWFUL LOT of my Girlfriends’ Cyber Circuit buddy E. Lockhart’s cover, by the way… that pisses me off!)

Delacorte, E.'s publisher, is the Young Adult Division of Random House, Curtis's publisher. D'you spose Curtis's cover artist beat E.'s cover artist over the head with an umbrella and made off with the concept?

And check out this review excerpt of The Man of My Dreams:

“Although the novel aspires to be taken seriously and Hannah is a sympathetic protagonist, she remains a textbook case of a young woman who wants ‘a man who will deny her. A man of her own who isn't hers.’” ~Publishers Weekly

So. D'you remember when Curtis lambasted Melissa Banks in The New York Times Book Review for The Wonder Spot, accusing her of writing chick lit and calling her a slut for doing so? Oh. My. Gosh. When I read that review, all I could do was wince and hope she wasn’t saying what I thought she was saying. Some of it was kind of funny, actually. Like writing chick-lit was about the worst thing a woman could ever do, save, maybe, pose for Hustler.

Someone asked me once if I personally hated chick-lit since Wren in The Bitch Posse hates chick-lit. The answer is no. A lot of the anger Wren felt, though, was cribbed from myself—at the time, I had a literary agent who insisted that what I was supposed to write was chick-lit. And truth be told, I didn’t know how. But everything in my book is fiction… just ask my parents! Well, the novel ended up getting dubbed as “anti-chick-lit.” There was a review in Britain that called it “more bitch lit than chick lit.” So for awhile there, people believed I was The Enemy of All Things Chick-Lit.

Just to clear things up. Although I am not a gigantic chick-lit fan, I do read it. Here are some chick-lit titles I have enjoyed, and Here are some I can’t wait to read. No matter the genre, I respect anyone who can sustain a book length piece of fiction that keeps the reader turning the pages. I mean, what is so bad about writing chick-lit? It's not like people who write chick-lit are peddling crack cocaine, is it? It's not like chick-lit authors are, holy God, something dirty like screenwriters! (kidding, kidding all you screenwriters out there.) I'm friends with mystery writers, science fiction writers, children's writers... one of the writers I respect most in all the world writes *holy God!* romances for Harlequin! Hey folks, live and let live!

Although I’ve never actually been accused of it writing chick-lit, (although the slut thing, that may be up for debate), or, thank heavens, screenplays (kidding, folks--KIDDING) I do sometimes wonder how people will classify the latest novel, the one I’m working on now. It’s not a bitch book, not quite. There's family stuff in it. A fair bit of medical drama. So what is it then? I write scenes like the one I did last night, and I know there are some streaks braided into it that are dark and bizarre. Maybe it could be marketed as Jodi Picoult on crack cocaine? Honestly, I wouldn't care. That's someone's job in Marketing, and I don't need to do that person's job, although if they want to send me their paycheck, it'd be fine with me...

So, back to Curtis. Could her new book be, *gasp* chick-lit? Anyone who’s seen an advance copy, please comment…If it looks like a chick and sounds like a chick…

It’s serious literature, damn it!