Jody Gehrman Pairs Lolita and Bridget
A lot has been written about the whirlwind of books known affectionately and sometimes
hatefully as "chick lit." Clever journalists wax on about the vapid career girls
these books supposedly feature and their obsessions with the size of their butts.
Nowadays, though, the term is used so loosely, it seems to encompass most females
writing for a largely female audience; like "feminism" "Marxism" and "size six,"
no one has any idea what "chick lit" means anymore.
I spend an inordinate amount of time preoccupied with this topic, but my conclusion
isn't terribly profound. I just think women are writing with verve, humor and
confessional prowess, and other women are buying these books because they make
them laugh and stay up deep into the night, gobbling chapters like Godiva chocolates.
Publishers are clever enough to slap theses tales inside pastel-hued covers
and dub them with a singsong moniker, but all it really means is, women are
writing, and women are reading. Both of which are good things.
The two most memorable books I've devoured in recent years are Vladimir Nabokov's
and Helen Fielding's Bridget
Jones's Diary. This may seem like an odd pairing, but I realize now that
the two have a key ingredient in common: they're both masterly crafted confessionals.
They both sing with secrets. So one confessor happens to be a calorie-obsessed
singleton and the other a hypnotic pedophile. For me, the thrill of their stories
is much the same.
Having spent too many years in academia, it's not hard to figure out that
loving Lolita means you're serious, and loving Bridget Jones means
you're a Cosmo-girl. This dichotomy is painfully simplistic.
I'm putting Bridget and Lolita side by side on my bookshelf
right now. I believe they'll get along just fine.