I was so honored and excited to get a request from Grace Coopersmith, also known as author Marta Acosta, asking for a guest spot here at Lurv. Even though I haven’t read her books yet, I’m very familiar with Acosta’s brilliant flair for comedy and I’ve read her blog for comic relief before. You can visit her Vampire Wire blog here.
When I read on Coopersmith’s site that some reviewers were calling her book Nancy’s Theory of Style a “perfect feel-good read…”, I wondered if she might like to talk about what it is exactly that makes books feel-good reads. And this is what she had to say.
How Chick Lit Saved Modern Civilization
Literary critics hate chick lit (aka romantic comedy) so vehemently you’d think Bridget Jones stood them up for the Senior Winter Ball. “It’s stupid and it’s dead!” they scream as they beat it over its pretty head with an unabridged edition of James Joyce’s Ulysses. They want us to be ashamed of enjoying books about young women tumbling headlong into love and their comic mishaps. They sneer at brightly covered covers as if they’re destroying modern civilization. I’m going to get back to modern civilization in just a minute, but first I want to say…
…if liking fun books about love is wrong, I don’t want to be right.
There’s a reason those brainiac ancient Greeks put a smiling mask next to a grimacing mask on their theaters: in art, comedy is as important as tragedy. I’ll leave it to others to write stories about miserable people having angsty existential crises. (Personally, I get enough tragedy from the daily news, and I feel no need to seek out fictional tragedy.) Yes, I’m so depraved that I prefer a shocking pink book cover to a beige book cover.
It gets worse. I love stories about young women dashing into crazy situations, and falling for the wrong guy, or falling for the right guy, but in the wrong way. I love stories that make me smile and optimistic about human nature. Reading Becky Bloomwood’s marvelously loopy letters to her debt collectors makes me laugh out loud. Watching Bridget Jones stroll into an elegant afternoon party while wearing a Playboy bunny costume fills me with empathy and appalled amusement.
Because we’ve been those young women who set their hearts on someone fabulous yet unattainable and, like a mountaineer plotting a route up a terrifying peak, strategized ways to win his love. We know what it’s like to become entangled in our families’ and friends mini-dramas.
We’ve worn the wrong clothes, said the wrong things, made the wrong career moves, dated the wrong guys, took the wrong apartments, and trusted the wrong people. We made mistakes because we were naïve and inexperienced.
Despite the calamities that inevitably occurred, we picked ourselves up, commiserated and laughed about it with our girlfriends, and kept trying.
The unlikely heroine of my new book, Nancy Carrington-Chambers, is a girl you want to hate. She’s richer than you, prettier than you, and runs in better social circles. She’s invited to better parties and asked to join more exclusive clubs. She spouts ridiculous style edicts and loathes her husband because he’s turned her dream house into a tacky McMansion. She moves to her posh Pacific Heights pied-a-terre to work on her party planning business and hires a gorgeous, gay British assistant. Then an irresponsible cousin abandons her four-year-old in Nancy’s care.
Nancy’s life is like a beautiful piece of glass, but when you hold it up to the light, you can see a faint crack. When it shatters, mayhem ensues. (I have a particular fondness for mayhem ensuing.)
Nancy, like all of our favorite heroines, like all of our best friends, sisters, mothers, and ourselves, proves herself to be stronger and more resourceful than people think. She faces the challenges and risks everything to protect those she loves.
Nancy’s Theory of Style is a story about one young woman’s emotional life. But the funny thing about women’s emotional lives: individually they seem insignificant, but every woman becomes the axis of her family. She carries on love, tradition, culture, and ethics. When you put these millions of individual lives together, they’re the basis of all modern civilization.
Told you, I’d get there!
Nancy’s Theory of Style will be released on May 18. Click below for your online bookseller of choice.
We’ve got two copies of Nancy’s Theory of Style to give to two different yet equally lucky winners. And even better news – the contest is open to U.S. AND Canadian residents!
Simply leave a comment below sharing with everyone what book has been a go-to feel-good read for you, or one that maybe took you completely by surprise in a feel-good way.
The contest opens now and ends Friday, May 14 at midnight, Eastern U.S. time. I’ll pick the winners the following day. Prizes are being provided by the author’s publicist at Simon & Schuster, so a huge thanks goes out to them!
And that’s it! Let’s get to hearing about your feel-good books, and thanks so much to Ms. Coopersmith for starting us off.