Sugar without cellulite

November 5, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Everyone Worth Knowing, by Lauren Weisberger

I needed sugar in my blood stream. The only sugar I know that doesn’t fall down on my hips in sexy cellulite is chick lit. Honestly, neither Alexander Portnoy’s troubles nor Julien Sorel’s ambition could fulfil that need, so I set aside what I was reading to dive into Everyone Worth Knowing by Lauren Weisberger.

This is pure American chick lit, with all the necessary clichés: beautiful and rich people, glamorous jobs, shallow and selfish human beings. It’s as far from my everyday life as life in China in the reign of Qin Shi Huangdi. It is full of references to fashion and brands that I’ve never heard of because I don’t read Elle or Cosmopolitan, sorry I meant ‘Cosmo’. I skipped the passages describing night-clubbing in New-York and concentrated on silly dialogues to end it as fast as I could. To top it off, the main character, Bette, falls for a man named Sammy. And when I hear Sammy, it’s a rooted reflex from childhood, I can’t help thinking of Scoobidoo, which didn’t help me to take this seriously.

I was looking for something light and funny like Bridget Jone’s Diary and found a Harlequin in disguise. Yuck. Instead of sugar, I got artificial sweetener. The translator was thoughtful enough to change Bette’s name into ‘Beth’ probably because a ‘bette’ is a vegetable (a Swiss chard) and it sounds like ‘Bête’, which means ‘stupid’. She shouldn’t have, it would have been true-to-life.

In the acknowledgements at the end of the book, the writer thanks her agent, for taking care of practical details and thus give her enough time to write her book, which will leave a mark in literature (!) and her parents , whose help was decisive for her to write this masterpiece (!!) I’m not inventing this. I only hope it is self-irony.

If anyone is interested, the ‘masterpiece’ has a page on Wikipedia. Thinking she earned 1 million dollar for writing that when gifted authors struggle to make a living makes me sick. To avoid.

  1. November 5, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    My opinion–but the chick lit thing has attracted trash. Have you tried Marian Keyes?


    • November 5, 2010 at 2:21 pm

      No I’ve never tried her. Have you? I’ll investigate that.
      Light, fun and good is a difficult equation, I’m afraid.


      • November 5, 2010 at 2:34 pm

        Guy, forget my question. I’ve looked for Marian Keyes and I don’t imagine you reading that. It looks a lot like what I’ve just read.

        Next time I want that kind of book, I’ll look for Central Park Squirrels Are Sad on Mondays.


  2. November 5, 2010 at 4:05 pm

    Someone I used to work with was/is a Keyes fan and loves her books.


  3. November 5, 2010 at 7:24 pm

    I looked up Everyone Worth Knowing on Amazon US. I didn’t know the book was by the same author of The Devil Wears Prada–not that I’ve read it, but even I have heard of it. Anyway, the Amazon reviews offer an interesting spread evenly, more or less, from 1-5 stars. The first review is funny: The Devil Wears Blackberry.


    • November 5, 2010 at 8:20 pm

      What am I making you do! Read Amazon’s reviews on chick lit ! 🙂
      The rating must depend of the reading habits of the reviewer, I suppose. I’ve read the first one, you’re right, it’s funny. And spot on.
      Her Chasing Harry Winston was better. But I read it in English and silly things sound less silly in English, I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because it’s a foreign language. It’s the same with lyrics of pop songs.

      I should have re-read Pride & Prejudice or Emma instead. That was raw sugar.


  4. November 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

    You are reading Le rouge et le noir you don’t need excuses for sugar cravings. Will have to read your review (should you finish the book this time). I think it is the only French novel (apart from La Reine Margot) that I really hated.


    • November 8, 2010 at 4:02 pm

      Hi. Thanks for dropping by.
      Le Rouge et le Noir. Well, I still don’t like Julien Sorel but I want to finish it this time. How many other books I will have to read at the same time is not defined yet.


  5. November 10, 2010 at 9:04 pm

    I read pulp sometimes to unwind, I don’t see anything wrong in that.

    The only question is, is it good pulp?

    I figure chicklit must be similar. It’s supposed to be light and witty, so the only useful question is is it amusing?

    If not, there’s just no point to it at all. If so, then it’s probably a success.


    • November 10, 2010 at 9:14 pm

      Exactly. It can be a good moment, just like watching a good comedy.
      I’m not interested in fashion, so stories about shopping addicts and women interested in waiting lists to buy a Vuitton bag don’t appeal to me.


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