Pub Writes

About the publishing Industry, editorials, and reviews

Meg Cabot and more

Posted by Caitie F on October 3, 2009

In two days, I just read five Meg Cabot books — Princess in Waiting, Valentine Princess, Airhead, Boy Next Door, and Boy Meets Girl. There are a lot of people who look at her and throw her in the same grouping as the Dan Browns and James Pattersons, but I think these people are wrong. Yes, she doesn’t write literary works, they are fun and a little fluffy, but I will argue that she is a great writer.

It may be chick-lit (I refuse to write chic), but her books have strong characters and meaningful story lines. Like many of my favorite authors, she really gets her characters and her audience. All of the books I just finished other than Airhead were not written in the conventional story telling narrative. The Princess Diaries books are written as a diary, and the Boys books are emails sent back and forth between friends and coworkers talking about what is going on in everyone’s lives.

I have always loved books that are told in either of these methods. I read every book I could that was told in diary form when I was a kid. You get a fantastic first-person narrative and can really get into the characters thoughts and emotions. It helps form interesting and rounded characters, and that was true of all of the main characters in these books. Yes, Princess Mia can get annoying in her freaking out about things that don’t seem to matter…but it is how any fourteen-year-old girl acts, which shows that Meg knows her characters and her audience.

The books got me thinking about female literature in general. There are so many levels of so-called chick-lit. There are romance novels, the most female-centric of them all; there are also books like Confessions of the Shopaholic, books most guys are not interested in at all (where I think most of Meg Cabot’s works fit in); and then there are the borderline chick-lit books, books like The Time-Traveler’s Wife and Jane Eyre. The borderline books tend to be the more literary works, but I have seen them marketed next to the more obvious books for women as being “chick-lit”.

I don’t like the term and find it interesting that even in a female-dominated industry, a term like this would come up. What women calls themselves a chick? I guess it is the same women who call guys dudes? Why can’t it be woman’s literature? It may just be a way to categorize and market, but I think that it should be put ot a stop. Now people think of great works of literature (like and book by Jane Austen) as just chick-lit, and that disappoints me.

What do you think of the term chick-lit? Have you read any books that are categorized as chick-lit and shouldn’t be? What else can we call it?

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2 Responses to “Meg Cabot and more”

  1. Jenners said

    I think Chick Lit is a nebulous term. Just because it is written by a woman or about a woman doesn’t make it chick lit! I would NEVER consider Jane Eyre or Time Traveler’s Wife as chick lit. For me, I guess I think of “Chick Lit” as being kind of frothy stories with single women trying to get a man or being wacky in her job.

    • caitieflum said

      I agree with you…unfortunately, it is a great way to market a book…any book. I agree with your definition or the term “chick lit”, but I still don’t like the blanket term because some are written much better than others and throwing them into this category is irksome…don’t get me started on the term “beach read”!

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