I'm happy to report that rumors of the death of chick lit have been highly exaggerated. Our group had a great time discussing Something Borrowed and trying to define the Chick Lit genre. My definition is 'modern, non-depressing women's fiction that's like reading a friend's diary' There was some heated debate about whether Jane Austen would be considered CL - in my opinion YES, but not to others. Even though she's not modern now, when she wrote it, she was contemporary.
We struggled with the fact that most chick lit ends up happily ever after - i.e. she gets the guy, but we all agreed that we do not like the message 'a woman needs a man.' We kept coming back to that problem, and we finally agreed that a CL heroine must first reach a place where she has discovered/accepted/reinvented herself and would be fine on her own - she is NOT in need of rescue. As a strong, independent woman she then finds her love interest and as equal partners they have a happy ever after ending. We tried to think of a CL book where she ends up alone in the end, but came up blank - is there one?
As for my contribution, I somehow managed to change the organizer's mind about "Something Borrowed" She loved the book before the meeting, but changed her mind about liking the heroine Rachel after I pointed out how spineless she was, and how much stronger her friend Hilary was. She pointed out some of the Darcy/Rachel friendship parts that I had missed, so I now have a better understanding of their relationship.
Bottom line - I had a great time and I'm looking forward to re-reading "Watermelon" by Marian Keyes for our next meeting. Apparently I've done such extensive reading in the genre I'm going to be doing a lot of re-reading : )
As a side note, I wore a snappy sundress to the meeting, and E told me, "Hey, you look really nice - you should wear that more often" I told him if he invited me to do something other than shovel gravel that I would gladly wear the snappy sundress. We'll see what happens.... and no this does not mean there is any trouble in K&E happily ever after land - I was just making a point.
In another side note, I am completely obsessed with Suzanne Brockmann's Troubleshooter series, or as I call them, "the Naked Navy SEALS books." I met Ms Brockmann at the writer's conference I went to in April, and everyone was raving about her books. I finally started reading them a few weeks ago and have not been able to stop - I haven't been this obsessed since I started reading Harry Potter, although her books are completely different. If you're looking for excellent summer reading, pick up the first in the series, "The Unsung Hero" by Suzanne Brockmann. You can thank me later.