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This Is Not Chick Lit: Original Stories by America's Best Women Writers Paperback – August 1, 2006
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More About the Author
When I moved to Brooklyn, I hankered for a literary community that was supportive, vibrant, smart and not snobby, and I didn't really find one--so I started one. I now run the Grace Reading Series for women writers--we put focus on serious literary work by women. I also run my own writing school, Elizabeth's Workshops, which is the exact opposite of most other writing workshops and where the amazing books of the next few years are currently being written by my dedicated, inspired students. I edited the anthology THIS IS NOT CHICK LIT (Random House, 2006) which includes some of my favorite writers at work today. RIght now I am working on a book of nonfiction and my next novel.
Top Customer Reviews
The opening piece describes the experience of a Nigerian immigrant in pursuit of the American dream. Her remarks about this upside-down country still resonate with me--America is a place in which rich people look starved and poor people are fat, where rich people dress in shabby clothing, and in which not everyone owns the gigantic house and car that represent the American dream. In another contribution, Francine Prose manages to masquerade a contemplative essay as a fictional story, and the gimmick succeeds wildly. Aimee Bender's short story reads pretty much like a piece in any of her other collections, making her one of the weakest (but still excellent) links in the book.
The authors represent a veritable who's who of modern literary talent. Most of them have recent full-length releases (Jennifer Egan's The Keep is not to be missed).Read more ›
If, instead, you stumble across this volume in a bookstore or library, but inadvertently skip the word "not" on the cover, you may be surprised by a curious absence of handbags inside.
What you will find instead will include, among other things, a steak-eating contest, a disgraced publicist's unusual efforts to rehabilitate a dictator, and an explosives-filled FBI sex robot's philosophial debates with the Unabomber.
Whatever your gender, I don't think it's an exaggeration to say there's not a dull story in the bunch, and I'd be surprised if you don't put down the book wanting to read more by at least one, if not several, of the authors included in this excellent collection.
In her introduction, Elizabeth Merrick writes, "Chick lit as a genre presents one very narrow representation of women's lives." While not disparaging Chick Lit as a genre (she mentions writers she likes, including Jennifer Weiner, for example), Merrick proposes that there are a lot of great women writers today that do not fit exactly into that genre, that present varying and strong alternative representations of the varying and strong experiences women face in their lives.
The stories in this book range from funny to deadly serious to touching. A publicist that decides to represent a despotic general tries to make him likeable by putting him in a knitted hat. A woman contemplates her wedding night--and runs. Another woman volunteers at a shelter for women and children, and through the experience reflects upon her own loneliness and neuroses. A couple experiences their last moments together before terrorists crash their plane into one of the Twin Towers.
This book contains everything you'd expect from Chick Lit: first dates, reflections on high school crushes, and relationships gone bad. But it is more inclusive and expansive than what is expected from the Chick Lit genre, with the thought-provoking, the touching and the downright quirky, driving the stories to places as deep and painful the lives of real women living in their thoughtful, touching and quirky real lives.
Armchair Interviews says: Fantastic read!
This is one of the best collections I've read recently, right up there with The Best American Short Stories 2012 and Nathan Englander's What We Talk About When We Talk About Anne Frank. "Selling the General" was a re-read for me; I first encountered it in A Visit From the Goon Squad. I forget how good Jennifer Egan is until I read her again; she surprises me anew every time. "Love Machine" was fantastically twisted; "Embrace" was heart-stopping; and "The Epiphany Branch" was funny, politically incorrect, and touching. I loved the anachronistic "Joan, Jeanne, La Pucelle, Maid of Orléans" and couldn't get enough of "Gabriella, My Heart" -- it was like a novel crammed into twenty pages, in the best possible way. The only disappointment was that the last two stories were possibly the weakest, so the collection didn't end on a high note for me. That's not to say that the two final stories were bad, because they weren't; they just weren't as mind-blowing as the others.
All in all: worth reading, worth owning, and opened my eyes to a bevy of amazing, read-more-by-her authors.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Good to have an anthology that lets us know we are going to read literary short stories. I'm reading it slowly for a discussion group. No futher opinions yet.Published 12 months ago by June Calender
not that fun or interesting, I was expecting more meaningful stories and better writing. none of the stories really captivated me.Published 24 months ago by Bohemian West
Really good book. I love short stories, and am so happy with this purchase! I actually found one of these at our local resale shop and loved it so much that I bought this one for... Read morePublished on December 21, 2012 by R. Springer-Vega
This was not any kind of lit. Just a bunch of junk compiled to make enough pages to print a book. Who edited this stuff. Read morePublished on December 9, 2011 by Leerae M. Blaylock
Some of the stories in here were excellent while some simply fell flat for me. The opening story was fantastic. Read morePublished on October 20, 2011 by JHH
I picked this book up because of the title. I hate Chick Lit so that was a good advertisment for me (also I'm drawn to books that are black or pink... Read morePublished on July 16, 2010 by Christy Leigh Stewart
it was an enjoyable book. I enjoyed reading so many different stories from talented women.Published on July 15, 2007 by Melissa Chalker
Wow, this is a wonderful book chock full of great short literary pieces. The title is very eye-catching and the stories inside are immensely diverse and delightful.Published on June 6, 2007 by Jacqueline Wales, author of When the Crow Sings