My chicklit needs are simple: I want to think the girl is smart and not a drip, I want to fancy the dude, and I want to laugh. Oh, my God, I want to laugh.
After all, chicklit aims to entertain. Our favourites comfort and charm. They make us recognise truths about ourselves, our friends and families. They make us sigh and nod and think and cry, gasp in surprise and coo with delight. And the very best chicklit books take us away from reality for a few hours, then deposit us back, feeling emotionally uplifted, inspired and understood. They leave us smiling.
Now, when I’m being entertained, I crave the cut-n-thrust of sharp asides and witty one-liners. I love silly repartee and caustic banter. I guess it’s because I don’t do sentimental weepies and I don’t do mushy romance: without humour, I’m quickly bored by girl-meets-boy.
Now, there are loads of different kinds of funny in chicklit books. Some raise a gentle grin or a smirk, some make me chuckle quietly or snigger bitchily, and some make me slap my thigh, throw back my head and cackle out loud.
In other words, a good chicklit book is like a friend.
Sometimes that friend is hilariously biting in her observations, with a secret heart of gold. Like Candace Bushnell or Talli Roland.
Now and again, I like to talk to a smart friend who’s going through something serious, but always finds time to grin about it. Like Adele Parks and Emily Griffin.
Other times, I crave a few hours with the flighty friend who pretends to be far more shallow and silly than she is, and always makes me laugh with her escapades and droll asides. Like Plum Sykes.
Sometimes the only person I need to see is the friend who always makes me feel better about life because, no matter how bad things are, she’s been there too – and she manages to make even horror stories hilarious. Like Helen Fielding.
And then there’s my personal favourite: the friend with whom I’ll go for a catch-up lunch and still be sitting with 12 hours later, drinking prosecco, telling outrageous stories and screaming with laughter. That’s Jilly Cooper.
And I love them all.
Found a funny chicklit book recently? Please let me know. I’m always looking for something new…
More about Gemma Burgess