There are no 12 steps for trashy reading.
Its something its taken me a long time admit and will probably spend the next 30 years trying to manage.
I love to read trash.
Now, by trash I don’t mean bodice rippers and line ink renderings of Fabio on the front , or pulp thrillers featuring devil spawn and supernatural forces. No… its even worse.
I like chick lit.
The vanilla of trash.It would somehow be excusable if I was getting my thrills from stories of serial killers on the loose, forensic scientists with a crush on the sexy detective, or even bad ass morticians. Nope, give me a girl who hasn’t got a clue, a couple of impediments and a happy ending and I’m set for an afternoon on the sofa with a Cheshire cat grin.
It started slow, borrowing some of my sister’s Marian Keyes.Then I read a Shopaholic. I laughed at the simplistic plot, the basic language and the heroine’s basic stupidity.. but I was hooked. Shamefully hooked. I found myself scanned Amazon for other pink covers. Anything featuring heels and potentially a handbag. I looked at the ‘Others also bought’ strip with a notepad and expanded to Meg Cabot, Emily Griffith, Harriet Evans, Jennifer Weiner (a little high brow and meaningful for trash, but still delightfully escapist). Soon my collection of pink covers were overtaking my spare room and I started strategically re-shelving them amongst my ‘serious’ books so as to dilute my apparent addiction for anyone who strayed over to check out my literary collection. I would excuse my books when eyebrows were raised as ‘summer read’.
I knew I had a problem when I started dating and had to start racking my brains for non trash titles for ‘My Latest Read’ on my match.com profile. No one wants to even wink at a woman who’s entire back catalog focuses on finding a mate, getting married or at least getting the hot guy all while appearing disarmingly lost and befuddled. I’d run a mile, and I’m her.
My Kindle became an enabler. I could hide my addiction behind a few well meaning downloads (‘oh the new Ian McEwan? Love his female perspective, the best since Atonement’). Meanwhile there they lurk in my Archives, literally hundreds of vanilla pulp novels featuring watered down Bridget Jones-es. I scan Amazon for new releases, download samples, and purchase while lying in bed. I love a new download at 9pm. Nothing beats the excitement of discovering my heroine, learning her weak spots, trying to identify the guy in the background who will inevitably win her heart. Really, I’m cringing even as I write this. I know I have a problem, I just can’t stop.
This wouldn’t be such a crushing issue except I want to write. I have wanted to write books since I was 8 years old and started keeping a diary. And if I follow what I’m told, ‘write what you know’, I’m admitting that that literary mask I wear is just that.. and not only do I partake frequently, I want to actually ADD to the genre. Bring my own vanilla scented, heart driven, female ‘not quite got it together yet’ protagonist into the world. So I excuse my reading, mentally mark it up as ‘research’ and download the new Madeline Twickenham.
They say that admitting you have a problem is the first step. Well, I’m admitting it. I am powerless over Chick Lit. The second step.. well I don’t think a higher power is going to help me, but maybe if Helen Fielding would get off her ass and write Bridget Jones sequel I might be tempted to consider it.