Late last night I finished the 2001 book In Cahoots! by Jane Blanchard, the ultimate in "chick lit" writing. In fact, let's be more specific and say that it's the ultimate in middle-aged chick lit writing, since it stars three women in their forties, rather than the usual twenty-something girl.
Now, I'm just going to give it to you straight: this book sucks. It's literally AWFUL, and I don't mean in a so-bad-it's-good kind of way. It's poorly-written, completely unbelievable, not funny in the slightest, and sooooo cheesy. The story is absolutely all over the place. The characters are - without exception - idiots. Some of the language is blatantly racist, ageist, xenophobic, and homophobic (because apparently, 2001 is the new 1950). It occurs to me suddenly that if Donald Trump were to write a chick lit novel, it likely wouldn't be too far off from In Cahoots. Mercifully, the book appears to now be out of print.
I asked myself many times why I was still reading. Why I'd even want to finish such a terrible book. And the truth is ... I've kind of been reading a lot of chick lit lately. This particular one came to me as a freebie from a charity shop (try to contain your shock), but I've also bought quite a few - vastly better - ones this year. Because I guess I just like escapism. I feel like I spend most of my day being "serious," and gosh darn it, sometimes I just want to sit in the tub and escape into a silly story.
But that doesn't explain why I kept reading this particular book. The real truth is that it was kind of comforting to read something so straight-up BAD. Because if drivel like THAT can get published, maybe there's hope for me yet! See, in addition to still wanting to publish my novel and write a book of short stories, I've had a silly idea for a chick lit book running around in my head for some time about a wannabe yoga teacher who falls for one of her private clients, whose bossy girlfriend has basically ordered him to do yoga in the first place. I had the idea right around the time I was graduating from my teacher training, and it hasn't quite let go of me, even though I haven't written a single word.
And ... that's quickly becoming a theme in my efforts to write more. Where's all the writing? If I keep thinking about it and wanting it and talking about it, then, you know ... shouldn't I just sit down and write???
Because no matter what, it simply can't be any worse than In Cahoots.
And hey, at least one person read that.