(C'mon. You secretly think Joan Jett is cool, too.)
I have a paperback copy of Jennifer Weiner's Certain Girls! I know what you're thinking: "But Trish! It's still in hardcover at the local Chapters!"
(Right. You're actually thinking "Who's Jennifer Weiner? Why does Trish insist on writing about brain-draining chick lit?")
(You could also be thinking: "Haven't you already written about this? You bought the book at Heathrow, you think the Brits love books more than we do, yadda yadda yadda....")
Anyway, it's my early weekend, so I'm driving through this updated story on Cannie Shapiro. What I like about Weiner is she writes fairy tales for girls who do not look perfect but who have great humour and big brains. Geez.... I sound like I'm writing a singles ad, eh? (A really, really bad one.)
Okay, here's the opener:
When I was a kid, our small-town paper published wedding announcements, with descriptions of the ceremonies and dresses and pictures of the brides. Two of the disc jockeys on one of the local radio stations would spend Monday morning picking through the photographs and nominating the Bow-Wow Bride, the woman they deemed the ugliest of all the ladies who'd taken their vows in the Philadelphia region over the weekend. The grand prize was a case of Alpo....
I wasn't sure of much back then, but I knew that when--if-- I got married, there was no way I'd put a picture in the paper. I was pretty certain, at thirteen, that I had more in common with the bow-wows than the beautiful brides, and I was positive that the worst thing that could happen to any woman would be winning that contest.
It certainly sets a tone, doesn't it?
Like all so-called chick lit, Weiner's work is escapist stuff. It's happy endings and smirky side-nods at popular culture and great expectations.
I'd argue Weiner is better, though, than peers like Sophie Kinsella or Gemma Townley. Weiner's a smart lady with intelligent jokes to make. And her Cannie Shapiro, for example, is a breath of fresh air compared to, say, Bridget Jones. Cannie takes a moment to feel sorry for herself, yes -- she looks in the mirror and sees a super-sized body where she (like all of us) would rather see a model's body. But she is not obsessed with every single inch of fat, every small or big problem. Cannie slogs through, with charm and grace.
It's a pleasure to read about real-like fictional people. I love sitting back and reading about quirky characteristics, and racing through plots built around the funny ways people interact with each other.