With Jojo Moye’s The Giver Of Stars, I was introduced to what I learned is called ChickLit. By the end of last year, I was looking for a nice novel to read and a friend of mine recommended this book. It is all about strong women in America’s 1930s who operate a library while delivering books to people living far out of town on horses. Just this fact, delivering books while riding on a horse, got me right away. I’ve also learned a lot about certain circumstances regarding marriage, work, parenthood, and racism – and with that, all the rather bad things women faced during this time. But the story has a happy ending, so everything is fine.
Not so with Oscar Wilde’s The Picture Of Dorian Gray. I’ve heard about this book so many times (and knew about the famous Dorian Gray club even longer) and needed a quick break from ChickLit anyway, so I squeezed that one in. It starts with one of my all-time favorite things to do: art. I also enjoyed Wilde’s take on beauty and how the character morphs over time – or doesn’t he and is it rather the painting? The atmosphere is a bit creepy and strange and sometimes dark, and it was rather hard to read what men thought about, talked to, and dealt with women in the late 19th century in England, but I enjoyed reading it and learning all about this classic anyway. My favorite quote is, »If a man treats life artistically, his brain is his heart (…)«
After that one, I went to India in the 1950s. The Henna Artist by Alka Joshi is another book that might fall into the genre ChickLit. It’s about that young woman who is trying to level up her carrier as a henna artist for the higher castes of India. Her life becomes quite different when first her ex-husband and then her teenage sister show up. This book was very interesting to read because I didn’t know that much about India’s caste society and culture yet, and again it was all about art and painting. With this book, I had wished for quite a few different turns, but the ending is kind of happy so I am fine with that. It also ends with an attached sequel, which to me is new when it comes to literature and which I didn’t enjoy that much.
The last ChickLit I read this winter was The Chicken Sisters by KJ Dell´Antonia. This one was all about two sisters getting into a fight when of them wants the two family-owned but competitive chicken restaurants to participate in a reality docu-TV duel these days. Well, one of the sisters is also an artist in painting, and the whole drama starts – in my opinion – when one of her paintings that once served as some kind of a trademark is no longer appreciated. There are several dramatic turns in that one, but in the end, the characters work out everything.
Well, after reading three ChickLit books in almost a row, I have to say that this genre is entertaining and makes me feel good. I like reading about artists and their art, and I like to learn about the lives of women in different cultures and times. But now I’d like to dive into something completely different…