Monday, October 12, 2009

Smart Chic(k): This Charming Man by Marian Keyes

I've read my fair share of Chick Lit and have come across the whole shabang. Things can be bad ("Oh my God! I need to buy that Gucci purse/top/watch/etc, and that boy won't go out with me!") to worse ("Hello, I am a self-obsessed, mean-spirited woman that you like because you want to be me and this is the story of my self-obsessed life.").

But things can be good in Chick Lit World. In fact, they can be really good as I found out with Marian Keyes' novel,
This Charming Man.

This Charming Man is a story told from the perspective of 4 different characters, each with their own distinct voice and style. I don't want to give away the story, so I'm not going to tell you guys too much about them.

What I can tell you though is that each of the characters has the potential to become your new very best make-believe/invisible friend, since Marian Keyes develops them so fully. In fact, the characters are so believable that you'll find yourself having to dry your eyes because something unbelievably hilarious happened (or the exact opposite).

The basic premise of the novel is that a man (isn't there always one?), Paddy, has gotten engaged. This is apparently really big news since he's the most eligible (but unavailable) bachelor in Ireland. He also happens to be a very in-the-spotlight politician. What ensues after his engagement is announced is a number of very interesting trips down memory lane that tell a tale darker than you usually find in chick lit.

In a way, that's kind of why I don't want to call this novel a Chick Lit book. It's too smart to fall under the same umbrella as some of the poor excuses for fiction/literature that are called Chick Lit. And yet, at the same time, I can't help but feeling that giving This Charming Man the label of Chick Lit will help uplift the genre itself.

Moving on. The book itself is paced fairly evenly. It's not too slow, it's not too fast. It's a good moderate pace, and it's got plenty of cliffhangers that make you almost want to curse at Marian for having left you in suspense for so long (almost being the key word there).

The novel isn't rocket science, but it's not at a grade five reading level either. So if you're looking to be entertained, would like to be meaningfully entertained, and are into "Chick Lit", be sure to pick this charming book up.

This Charming Man is not for anyone:
  • who hates all that feely shmeely talk that girls go through all the time
  • who needs, requires, or lives on High Culture/Art and needs a hot mess of literature
  • is looking for poetry in their prose
  • is looking for an excuse to think about designers, jewelry, high-end vacations and lifestyles in a book
This Charming Man is for anyone:
  • thoroughly enjoys intelligent reads about real women in real life situations (i.e. women who have lives and careers apart from being rich heiresses in need of yet another manicure)
  • looking for a read that doesn't require too much effort to get interested and isn't too heavy/depressing
  • looking for a read that will make them feel good even though life sucks
  • who is looking for a peek into how to get over a man very quickly

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