God help me, I’ve fallen in love with a chick lit book. Yes, you read that right.
“What?” I hear you cry, “But you despise chick lit, you want to hurl the entire genre Superman style into the burning core of the sun!”
This remains true – to an extent.
You see, this book has shown me that a chick lit book can have an interesting plot, feature intelligent characters and be a pleasure to read.
In a nutshell
A woman becomes infatuated with her sister’s boyfriend, begins to transform her entire life to become his type, and almost destroys everything precious to her in the process.
So far, so chick lit. But…
The main character is lovely. She has a brain (hurrah!), and doesn’t obsess about her private life even when she thinks she is. In other words, she goes to work, she has other problems. She talks to other people. There’s a lot of detail about her past, her thoughts, other people’s pasts etc. By the end of the book you feel like you know her, and you’re rooting for things to work out the way they should.
The author has used the first person viewpoint amazingly well. As I said in my last post, the good thing about first person is the way an author can create tension by leaving the reader guessing about what other characters are getting up to. In this book, the other characters were fully functioning people who got on with their lives away from the main character and did things that impacted on her story. In some books, it can feel like the other characters go into stasis when the main character isn’t in the room, which sucks the life out of a book. Sophie Ranald uses first person beautifully.
The plot was interesting! It could have been 281 pages of someone whining, plotting and conniving to get into her sister’s boyfriend’s boxers, but (thank God) it wasn’t. The main character had (gasp!) other things going on. She had friends, a job, interests and causes, all of these things fed into the main plot and made it stronger.
All of the characters had their own sub-plots playing out behind the scenes, which the main character (and therefore the reader) got brief glimpses of every now and then. It made it a much richer reading experience.
It’s also interesting to look back at how the author did this. My WIP has multiple viewpoints, and non-viewpoint characters who have their own sub-plots, so it was great to read a book which featured a full cast of fleshed-out characters with stories of their own.