I don’t read a lot of it. Call me snobby, but after years of voracious reading I have little patience with anything I deem so-so. And I’ve found most Chick Lit to be so-so. But every so often I’ve found a gem that has put me on Reading Cloud Nine.
Chick Lit novels get a bad rap for their “light” or “fluffy” content. But I’ve found several that are riveting, insightful, and downright delicious. And there’s nothing wrong with reading something that doesn’t leave you sniveling in the bathtub over a devastating ending.
I’m not saying you’re off the hook for reading more substantial books: autobiographies, memoirs, classics, and really good fiction. But just because Chick Lit books are generally more cupcake than bran muffin doesn’t mean they don’t have their place in a healthy reading diet.
This list constitutes 100% of the chick lit books I have made it through (sure sign that I liked them).
1. Bridget Jones’s Diary, by Helen Fielding
I think about this book at least once a week. The first time I read it I was in high school and I recruited a friend to guide me around the halls between classes so I could read during every free second I had. Good law it is funny. And if you haven’t watched the movie yet, then PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER and go rent it. (Yes, that was yelling.) The second book, Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, is just as awesome as the first (particularly the jail/tampon scene—trust me) but the second movie is an absolute abomination. Don’t see it.
2. The Devil Wears Prada: A Novel, by Lauren Weisberger
Okay, fine, so you’ve all seen the movie. But have you read the book? I’m not a particularly fashionable girl, so all the brand-dropping didn’t set my heart a flutter, but this book was great. Andrea, an ambitious but hopelessly style-less young woman become assistant to the terrifying dictator of Runway Magazine—Amanda Priestly. If you thought your boss was bad, read this. The villain is glorious—she makes you want to pull your perfectly highlighted hair out, and the book doesn’t get all wrapped up in a nice, neat package at the end, which I always like.
3. Something Borrowed / Something Blue, by Emily Giffin
I read Something Borrowed in about 4 hours. I could not stop reading it. Yes, this is chick lit. But this feels like smart chick lit. I didn’t know if I agreed with anything that was going on in this book (“good girl” Rachel White finds herself entangled with the fiancée of her best but sickeningly overshadowing friend Darcy) and that’s what made it so delicious. Something Blue is also excellent—I might have liked it even better than Something Borrowed. It picks up with Darcy’s side of the story, somehow showing a story you thought you knew in a totally different light.
4. The Nanny Diaries, by Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus
I read this while working as a nanny so I probably enjoyed this more than I should have, but my goodness this is great. This gives a glimpse into the bizarre world of Manhattan social-light child-rearing. Great characters, great plot, dreamy boyfriend, and some really annoying protagonists. Loved it.
5. You’ll Never Nanny in this town Again: The True Adventures of a Hollywood Nanny, by Suzanne Hansen
This is a fun read. It’s an autobiography of a woman who was a “nanny to the stars” in LA. Every chapter is headed with celebrity parenting quotes that will make you gasp with righteous indignation. You get all the juicy details of who was great, who was horrifying, and just how awesome the DeVito family is.
6. Good in Bed, by Jennifer Weiner
Cannie is a late 20 something who after breaking up with her loser boyfriend learns he is writing an article about her using lines such as “loving a larger woman is an act of courage in our world.” She’s devastated, but manages to pull off a pretty awesome comeback.
7. In Her Shoes, (also) by Jennifer Weiner
You’ve probably seen this movie too. This is a story of two very different sisters—one a beautiful train wreck, the other a practical, unhappy lawyer. When their sisterly bond is devastated by an act of betrayal they both have to find their way.
8. Little Earthquakes, (yes, another one) by Jennifer Weiner
This is Chick Lit for mothers. Three women meet in a prenatal yoga class and despite their differences become fast friends. Ayinde is a gorgeous, ambitious biracial woman married to an NBA player who she suspects of cheating. Becky is an overweight chef with a mother in law from you-know-where. Kelly, is a super-organized idealist with problems in her past. Their group is joined by Lia, a once-famous actress who leaves her husband unexpectedly. Every single one of their stories could be a book in their own, bring them together, you get Chick Lit magic.
9. All We Ever Wanted Was Everything: A Novel, by Janelle Brown
This is the story of 3 women—a mother and 2 daughters—trying to survive Silicon Valley. When the family patriarch’s business goes public he announces to his wife that he is leaving her for her tennis partner. Meanwhile, 20 something daughter Margaret struggles to drag herself (and her gigantic credit card debt) into an ideal Hollywood lifestyle, and 14 year old Lizzie gets introduced to the world of men (via other 14 year old boys.) It was either the great story or the picture of the sundae on the front, but I couldn‘t put this one down.
Now go get yourself something with frosting, chocolate, sprinkles and/or ice cream and indulge in a little Chick Lit. It’s good to be a girl. And PLEASE, leave me some recommendations for good chick lit. I am tapped out.