Wednesday, October 7, 2009

No Modern Day Cinderella Here, I'm Afraid...

I just got to the office and I'm already to go home. It's a windy day out there, cool, crisp and sunny. I was too comfortable in my bed this morning before my alarm woke me up and though I argued with myself as to why I should go to work, I ended up losing as I usually do.

So, here I am. I currently am listening to KROQ on the computer. It's nice to be tuned in to my former L.A. radio station. I do get confused sometimes when they run local ads and for a split second, I have to remind myself that I can't drive down to Long Beach on Saturday because Long Beach is over 2000 miles away. Still, I like the music better on KROQ than the stuff they play on the radio here.

I haven't been listening to the radio on the way to work lately. I've been listening to audiobooks. I love to do that. I usually alternate between a Harry Potter book on CD and something else. No matter how many times I read the Harry Potter books, they always sound different when I listen to them. I think it's the brilliance of Jim Dale, the reader of the audiobooks. He's amazing to listen to and he brings the book to life.

At the moment, I'm listening to a fluffy chick-lit book by Sophie Kinsella, author of the Shopaholic series. This book is called Remember Me and it's about a hapless young woman who, naturally, is slightly overweight and not happy with her looks. One night she has an accident where she falls down some steps and wakes up in a hospital only to find out it's three years later than she thinks and she's apparently been living a life she cannot remember.

In this life which apparently came between falling down the steps and a car crash, she's transformed, naturally, from an ugly ducking into a swan. She has the type of perfect multi-millionaire husband who can only be found in chick lit: drop-dead good looking, polished tastes and seemingly madly in love with her.

I'm only a third of the way through. I'm sure things aren't as perfect with him as they seem. I'll find out. I just find it absolutely amazing that in the world of women's fiction, there is a seemingly endless supply of these rich men, just waiting to fall in love with an endearingly 'normal' woman. Take, for example, Bridget Jones, who really was the pioneer character in defining chick lit. Now, our Bridget was not only only the first but also the best character, in my opinion. She was the type of woman who could never lose the extra weight that she put on because she couldn't stick to a diet because she likes chocolate to much. She spills things, breaks things, says the wrong thing. She is a woman most of us can relate to, not gorgeous but...normal looking. When she landed Mark Darcy, I cheered for her because he confessed he loved her 'just the way she was'. What woman doesn't want to hear that?

Since then, chick lit has taken a dive. The heroine is far less detailed and believable. She's usually very pretty but thinks she looks bad because she hates her hair. She usually has a good job but hates it because she's not the boss. She has a circle of friends who bring her down to earth and support her in her dating perils. Then...she meets him, Mr. Perfect. He's always rich. He's always enamoured with our heroine's 'normalness', often forsaking a gaggle of polished supermodel types to spend time with her. He always ends up falling for her even though she lies constantly to try to make him think she's less 'normal' and something special.

I don't know how Remember Me will end but at the moment, it does seem to have skipped to the end already. Our heroine has landed her man, she's now a polished member of society who goes to the gym twice a day. She has the stylish home of the rich: minimalist, everything's automated and, of course, the kitchen is cold and marble.

Why is it that the rich men always have these 'cold' kitchens? Every chick lit book I've read in which the heroine goes to the rich man's house, there's a scene where she's wowed by the modernness of the place and in which she seems the granite grey, stainless steel kitchen and can't find the fridge. I think it'd be nifty to have a man who actually uses his kitchen, who has garlic on the countertop, who looks like he uses his kitchen.

Most of all, I want to know, where is this supply of rich, handsome, easily-won men? No matter where the novel is set, the heroine finds one. He's a real estate mogal, magazine owner, stockbroker...something that earns him millions of dollars a year. He's always charmed by the clumsy heroine as she blunders her way through a situation. He usually rescues her from her messy life in which her sink is broken, her apartment is drafty or her credit card bill is overdue.

I'm sure the book I'm currently listening to will attempt to have a twist. Perhaps our heroine will realize that she liked being a frizzy-haired minion rather than a sleek-haired boss because her life was normal that way and she's more comfortable with normal. Perhaps she'll find a way to bring her rich, beautiful husband down a little closer to the level of life which which she is comfortable and the two will fall in love and move to a cosy house in the country. I'm not sure. Whatever happens, I'm sure it will be happy for the heroine. After all, these are our modern day Cinderellas, aren't they?

You may wonder why I read these books even though they seem to irk me. Truth is, sometimes, it's nice to be irked. Rather like Bridget Jones on a diet who cannot resist the pull of a Kit-Kat, I'm like that with chick lit. I know I should be reading more meaningful literature, something that has some bearing on real life. Yet, every now and again, I want to let my brain melt a little and not have to think. I like chick-lit, it's my version of cheating on a diet. I know the stories are silly and will never happen in real life but much like with a bedtime story that we heard as a child, it's nice to dream once in a while.

It doesn't mean that I'm not going to complain while I'm listening to the book. Our heroine's first question about her husband when she discovered she was married but had yet to meet her spouse in Remember Me was, "is he good looking"? Me, it'd probably be more like, "wow, how'd that happen?!" The fact that I'd found a husband would be so shocking, I wouldn't be thinking about how he looked, I'd be more flabbergasted that I'd finally managed to commit to someone and I couldn't even remember who he was. I'd probably be beating my head against the wall than admiring my beautiful teeth in a mirror like Lexi in Remember Me because it would be so typical that I'd finally managed to get my life in gear and I couldn't remember a damn thing about it. I wouldn't be entranced with the 'perfectness' of my 'new' life, I'd be too busy trying to find out when the pod-people had come and taken the real me away and what they'd done in that three years I couldn't remember. Then I'd be paranoid about my family and demand to see each of them to make sure they were alright. Then I'd find out if I'd written any new novels in that three years. Then find out who won "Top Chef: Las Vegas" and "The Next Iron Chef". Also, if there was a new Green Day album out. Also, if there was any new Sookie Stackhouse books. Then, when my husband came in and looked like a supermodel mannequin, I'd probably stare at him in shock and ask why the heck he'd married me and if we still lived in my little house. If he said no, I'd probably be very sad because of all that damn cranberry wall painting I'd done and I'd get upset and kick him out so I could think about it. Then I'd call one of my good friends and ask what the heck had been going on for three years. Then I'd want to see Sausage.

This is probably why I don't write chick-lit.

Happy Monday.

1 comment:

Kat said...

I like your version of the post-three-years awakening. I want to read that book. :)