I think the name of the genre also puts women in a bit of a box by telling them (and in turn, telling men) what should and should not be a woman's interests, experiences, etc. Another big issue for me is that by labeling the genre as belonging to women, many men are deterred from reading it. There is no "men's fiction," why should there be a "women's fiction?" While I agree that these types of books definitely belong in their own genre, perhaps a better name for it would be something involving “family” or “relationships," don't you think?
I find myself most drawn to issue-driven women’s fiction, and am not *generally* a big fan of chick lit. There’s something therapeutic about issue-driven books for me. I like reading dramatic stories about other people’s lives that I can either distract myself with, or connect with on a personal level. For this week’s assigned book, Happiness Sold Separately by Lolly Winston, I found it just OK. I thought the concept and content was excellent (infertility and miscarriages are such a taboo topic and need to be talked about more). I also liked that the characters were portrayed as real humans who make mistakes and have complicated relationships.
That being said, I never found myself personally connecting with the characters. I wanted to slap almost every character at one point or another, and not just out of passionate reader’s distaste. Usually, character is the big draw for me when reading/enjoying books, but the plot of this one was more appealing. Maybe that’s why this book just sort of fell a little flat for me. However, someone who has personally experience infertility (or infidelity, I suppose) could definitely find this book very relatable! The other book I chose to read this week was The Bright Side of Disaster by Katherine Center, reviewed below.
Jenny always hoped to fall in love, get married and then get pregnant. But when those things all happen in a different order, she eventually finds herself two weeks overdue and deserted by her garage band-obsessed fiancé a few weeks before their wedding. Within a day of finding Dean's poor excuse for a break-up letter, Jenny goes into labor.
Juggling a fussy newborn as a single mom while trying to cope with heartbreak, Jenny gets some unexpected (and much needed) help from her handsome new neighbor, Gardner. Seven months after giving birth, Jenny finally starts to feel like she’s getting the hang of this whole motherhood thing, but life is about to throw her another curve ball. After her first date with too-good-to-be-true Gardner, guess who Jenny finds sitting on her couch when she gets home? That’s right – it’s Dean, who says he’s finally ready to be a father.
Filled with smart humor, anger, exhaustion, disappointment, family, friendship and love, this book features as many different emotions as you would expect from a hormonal, suddenly single and new mom. A touching novel about the trials, tribulations and triumphs of being a first-time mother, The Bright Side of Disaster encompasses just how messy, crazy and unpredictable life can be.
I give this book: