Chick Lit

I have been meaning to post for days now, but I have been far too busy relaxing to write a blog post.  Spring break is upon us here in Oregon, and boy, did I ever need it!  I’ve been off since last Saturday and only now do I feel like my mind and body have recovered from 6 weeks at middle school.

My knitting life has been pretty productive this week, thanks in part to my cognitive fatigue. I finished my second Light and Up shawl yesterday, and it’s currently having a nice lie down and stretch on my bed. Black is more of a punctuation in my wardrobe, but I am certain that Sara will be delighted with this bat-wing beauty.

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In the week leading up to break my brain was pretty much liquified.  After a rough day at school it was all I could do to collapse on the couch and moan a greeting to my boyfriend. In an attempt to take my mind off things I started reading a fluffy Debbie Macomber novel that my mom had passed off to me a few months ago.  It’s one in her Blossom Street series, which is centered around Lydia, the owner of a yarn shop, and the women in the neighborhood who attend her knitting classes and also work in the surrounding businesses on Blossom Street.

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When I began reading the book I was almost embarrassed to be carrying it around and actually reading it. It’s pink and covered in flowers and it just looks frothy with doomed romance and damsels in distress. In fact, I thought I was going to get a third of the way in, decide the book wasn’t worth my time, and move on. I tend to read mostly fiction, but rarely romance, and never “chick lit”. As it turned out, I really enjoyed Back on Blossom Street. It was just what I needed, something light and uplifting, and the fact that I enjoyed it so much got me thinking about “women’s” literature and it’s place on my bookshelf.

As a feminist, I’ve had some trouble coming to terms with books and literature marketed exclusively to women that tends to prioritize finding a man and falling in love as the most important goals in a woman’s life. When picking up Back on Blossom Street I expected to be disappointed by more of the same: struggling, emotionally vulnerable women finds the perfect man and is saved by his undying devotion and superior financial status, everyone lives happily ever after.  In this book I was surprised to find that while, yes there were some romantic bits, those romances took a backseat to the powerful bonds between the female characters of the book. This was a story of independent women relying on other strong women to support them through various mundane crises.  Honestly, in some ways this was probably the most feminist thing I’ve read all year.  All the important characters were female, and were constantly interacting with other females about things that did not involve men. A++ on the Bechdel Test for sure, which is more than I can say for a lot of things I’ve read and enjoyed.

My point is, I have been wrong to judge people by their books’ covers.  Maybe that pink pulp novel with flowers and wedding dresses on the front is actually an empowering story of hope and the importance of ladies having lady friends. In fact, reading “chick lit” might even be a feminist act, and that is just grand. I can’t speak to the rest of her books, but Debbie Macomber has impressed me with this one, and I look forward to my next trip to Blossom Street to visit with all it’s strong, nuanced female characters.

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