Why, oh why, must chick lit be littered with lines that make a reader cringe? Or scenes that just don’t quite make sense?
The Eggnog Chronicles are not Christian chick lit, as became clear from a scene that began with, “Let me get you from behind.” This was refreshing. What was not as refreshing was that, once the protagonist dropped her legs from the hunk’s shoulders and got on all fours, that same hunk took her fingertips and pushed them into his mouth. How? I asked myself. When my husband picked up the book, which promised some sexy scenes and I pointed him to the one, he read through it and asked the same question. Why, if this is so obvious to us, was it not obvious to someone along the way to print?
The Eggnog Chronicles follow three women, Jane, her sister Ricki, and Jane’s friend Emma. Jane is the hard-edged New Yorker looking for casual sex and sure that anyone else looking for more is a moron. Ricki is a big softie, a humanities major, who runs a Christmas shop that looks like a gingerbread house in Nag’s Head. She has a collection of friends, including the prerequisite safe gay man, a sassy ethnic woman, a New Age middle-aged housewife, and an engineer-turned-surfer. Emma is a banker who really just wants a baby. That’s about it for Emma.
Alexander creates some interesting scenarios, but the actual follow through sometimes misses a step. Jane is diagnosed with papillary thyroid cancer, which everyone tells her is treatable, but she takes two weeks off of work (nice job) to wallow in her near brush (in her own mind) with death, which suddenly makes her a compassionate human. This softer more compassionate Jane seems to have rubbed off by the following year when the chronicles follow Ricki.
Ricki is living with a man who has been in the process of getting a divorce for four going on five years. She has begun the Christmas shop through a series of accidents that have turned into a highly profitable venture. She has a family of friends, none of whom like her boyfriend, who support her emotionally and at work as she becomes too busy for her small staff. Anyone can see that she’s going to end up with her friend the surfer. It follows the same line as Jane ending up with her bald, but intellectual, editor. The guy who’s been right in front of you, but you just couldn’t see him because you were too busy being shallow and attracted to gorgeous arses.
Like the muffed up scene with the downward facing dog and the fingertips, Alexander’s editors miss a glaring mistake in Ricki’s story. Ricki has an open house that features Santa, which has become a Christmas tradition, according to their local paper and many other community lights. However, it was just the previous year that Ricki asked her boyfriend to don the Santa suit. How can something that has happened once have reached the status of Christmas tradition? I’m going to guess bad editing.
Emma ditches her crappy boyfriend and finds a nice artist-type guy. However, when nice-artist-guy goes out of town and ex-boyfriend-hunky-model-turned-cup-turned-model/soap opera actor turns up in her apartment to cry, Emma lets him in, lets him stay, lets him stay the night, and doesn’t kick him out of bed when he creeps in, but has sex with him. When she realizes she’s pregnant she freaks out and assumes it’s his. When she realizes, because artist-type boyrfriend saw the signs of pregnancy before he went out of town, that she was wrong, she still doesn’t come clean about her cheating and bad decision making and the couple go on to have a beautiful baby girl and the moral dilemma is over. Wait a minute. How can an author build a whole plot line around the dilemma of cheating and then whoosh it away when the character realizes that circumstances aren’t going to out her? Maybe Jane is not truly the hardened cynical character here.
It’s easy to be the armchair critic, but that’s what reading is about, right? Reading and responding. I blame the authors less than the editors. Editorial attention equals respect for the audience. Respect to the chicks.