Why Does Chick Lit Need to be Funny? By Gemma Burgess

Why does chicklit need to be funny?

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.

Sometimes she’s the reassuring bestie who makes me giggle and sigh and ends every chat with a good, firm hug. Like Jennifer Weiner.

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

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5 Responses to Why Does Chick Lit Need to be Funny? By Gemma Burgess

  1. Jenni says:

    Brilliant post! I agree completely.

  2. I agree – the funnier the better!

    A couple of funny books I’ve read recently include 29 by Adena Halpern, and The Babymoon by Melanie La’Brooy 🙂

    • Agree Juliet on both those books. I actually reckon The Babymoon is the funniest pregnancy book out there – although I know a few non-Aussies just didn’t get the humour.

  3. Melissa A says:

    I think I told you about the new Jen Lancaster book. Hilarious! And it’s pertinent for John Hughes fans to read. 🙂

  4. Chanpreet says:

    Gemma, I’ve really enjoyed your books. Two books I recently read that had me laughing out loud were A Brand New Me by Shari Low and fate and ms.fortune by Saralee Rosenberg. I love laughing most as well! 🙂

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