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chick lit

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A kind of light commercial fiction addressed to British women readers of the late 1990s and early 2000s and subsequently imitated in the United States and beyond. The term appeared from 1996 as a flippant counterpart to the lad-lit fiction of that time. The defining model for the genre was Helen Fielding's comic novel Bridget Jones's Diary (1996), a widely discussed bestseller in which the heroine, a single working woman, records her frustrations with a succession of unsatisfactory boyfriends while also keeping track of her attempts to lose weight. Chick-lit novels are written by women about the misadventures of contemporary unmarried working women in their 20s or 30s who struggle with multiple pressures from reproachful mothers, inadequate boyfriends, and tyrannical bosses while consoling themselves with shopping trips, chocolate, and erotic daydreams. The stories are commonly told in the first person in tones of humorous self-deprecation. As the boom in this kind of fiction, sometimes referred to as chic fic, continued into the early 21st century, new subgenres emerged, including ‘nanny lit’ and ‘mommy lit’. For initial critical assessments, consult Suzanne Ferriss and Mallory Young (eds.), Chick Lit: The New Women's Fiction (2005).

Subjects: Literature

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