Lions And Chick-Lit

The Lion Is In by Delia Ephron

This is (probably) my third foray into chick-lit. If it wasn’t for the wonders of my second foray into this genre, I never would have trusted Adam Curry after he interviewed Delia Ephron here. The thing is, I dated someone that read a lot of chick lit — and in my opinion too little romantic literature (yes, there’s a difference). Even though this chick and I had a few things in common, one of them was not the types of books we read. I loved reading plays, Gogol, Kafka and non-fiction about the ways of the world. She, on the other hand, had a wall full of detective novels, a few novels from best seller lists, Stephan King and an array of hard and soft backs with covers that portrayed what I thought were degrading images of males, including perfect wavy hair and pseudo latin-lover demeanor. Non the less, I was interested in this chick because she filled out a pair of jeans with a thin black leather belt, a pair of western boots and a white blouse absent of buttons from sternum to neckline like no other.

As in every relationship, the day finally came where I had to meet my then-girlfriend’s challenge to read one of her favorites books. (Btw, I never challenged her to read one of my books.) After that it was time to have one of them pre-foreplay sessions discussing the book. For most couples this “session” normally consisted of backgammon or trivial pursuit, drink a bottle of muscatel disguised as vintage red wine and when you’re lucky and entertaining enough and avoid hinting to the fact that your rod is stiffer than the hardback you’re reading — and you lose whatever game it is you’re playing — she’s wet enough to let you get on with unfolding all her book covers. Even though I can’t remember the name of my first chick-lit book I had to get thru it to get into her, and I vividly recall that it reminded me of all the negative and scary stuff that boys never learn (or should learn) about chicks and why/how to fear them whole heartily in the pursuit of all things carnal.

Seriously. For the life of me, I can’t remember the title to the first chick-lit book I ever read. But it did have a lot to do with the misnomer of romance, matching color schemes, the fear of never achieving the perfect first-time and kisses that last a few days. Beyond that, I do recall there being something interesting about it. There was a inner dialogue of the protagonist and the voice of that dialogue was interacting with a real-life best friend. This inner dialogue ended up admitting the protagonist was in love with the best friend’s husband to-be. Astonishing as it sounds, the inner dialogue eventually transferred to the girl-friend and with it she saw the light and gave up her fiancé because she realized true love wasn’t hers. Once the new and fresh couple were married in a blissful ceremony that same inner dialogue lead the girl-friend to a new fiancé and, of course, the next book in the series.

My second foray into chick-lit you can read about here. Allow me to say this about it. For one thing, I can remember its title: Feucthgebiet. Secondly, it is a magnificently disgusting über-modern piece of chick-lit that can and should break all molds. Oddly — or not — not everyone thought as I did about this book. While vacationing in Bali a fews years back, my girlfriend and I stumbled upon a German couple a few years older than we were. The subject of books came up and the woman we met had mentioned that she read Feucthgebiet and found it distasteful and horrible. In response, I went on a tirade about how getting old never makes one wiser unless that wisdom incorporates those who are younger. If it isn’t already,Feucthgebiet should be a milestone — if not for chick-lit, then for helping one generation understand another. (Or something like that.)

Today I finished my third book in this genre. And it was not easy-going, let me tell you. I immediately bought the Kindle version but then, suddenly, kept second guessing whether or not to read it. I delayed reading it for fear of falling into a trap of misconstrued feminine ideals known as love and romance — which we all have to live with these days. Am I the only one to say that the modern female has tyrannically occupied and distorted “love” and “romance” thanks to the industrial age and Disney and to the point of making the two almost irrelevant in the human game of procreation? I mean, seriously, I have a hard time dealing with the duality of females painting their toe-nails and presenting themselves “on a market” as though the whole western world was their auction house. Obviously men consuming this “image” of the female doesn’t help matters. But that isn’t the reason females should assume this path of objectivity. There is nothing worse than facing the pathos of this world where females are reared to believe that simply due to biology they have some patent on love. In my years of experience — including the pleasures I’ve had with the feminine — the idear of Love is probably the most misunderstood thing ever. At the least, ladies, Love is not a noun. And just like happiness, it too can be bought. Thank goodness!

 

“And the Lord shall make thee the head, and not the tail.”  -Deuteronomy 28:13

 

Enough worst-nonsense.

Delia Ephron and the “The Lion is In” is brilliant. One of the things that make this book so good is Ephron and her ability to write. Even though there’s no big, deep story here, it doesn’t matter. There’s no need for a pinnacle or a romantic climax (no pun intended) and there’s barely any suspense. But the story development, the dialogue, the way the book is structured, makes it a well-honed, perfectly engineered device that serves a single purpose: Tell a wonderful and compelling story.

It took me a while, well beyond the first third of the book, to really get into it. Although at times I was bored and kept asking myself when this thing was gonna get started, as soon as the Lion was introduced, I was hitched. I didn’t know what to make of it. I kept asking myself: What the hell is a lion doing here? When Ephron wasn’t writing about the Lion I was motivated to read on in order to get back to him. After that the story began to unfold and I didn’t care about anything else. I needed to know what was going to happen to the king of the jungle and these wonderfully lost females that he was mystifying.

Great read.

Links:

 

Rant on.

-Tomas-