Chick Lit for Men

God. How’d I miss that? Earlier this month, Dick Francis died. He was 89 years old. In the Guardian, Alison Flood offers reminiscences of the great man’s work

I think I was about 12 when I started to get into them myself, and although I haven’t read one for years, Francis’s death yesterday reminded me just how much I used to love them. The thrill, the glamour, the sheer difference of the racing world to my own appealed immensely to me, as did the “lonely hero up against a host of more powerful enemies” theme which seemed to be part of them all. (…) I asked my father if he’d really enjoyed receiving a Francis every Christmas or if they were just grin-and-pretend-you-like-it presents, and he told me they were “always interesting, but a bit in one ear and out the other”. My mother, however, described them as “chick lit for men” and I think that’s a fair summing-up.

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3 thoughts on “Chick Lit for Men

  1. There isn’t just one book, you know. Chick-lit is also a rather varied field, when you engage with it. There’s lotsa room in “chick lit for men” for both Hornby and Francis. ALso, Hornby wrote three good books and then deteriorated hopelessly. Dick was a somewhat consistent writer. I used to love his books, but haven’t touched one for ages.

  2. I agree that Francis was consistent – I enjoyed lots of his books as a pre-teen/early teenager. A formula, but dependable. I also read a lot of Alistair MacLean at the time.

    I was being partly facetious re: Hornby (by whom I’ve only read High Fidelity; couldn’t stand it at the time, being at that point in my life a beer-guzzling metalhead with zero interest in relationships may have helped alienate me from the narrative), but unless ‘chick lit for men’ is a roundabout way to say ‘literature that bolsters specifically male feelgood factors and emotional needs’ (which could include a lot of manly-man/rugged individualist adventure stories in a variety of genres), Hornby’s stuff is closer to being a male variant on the themes of chick lit.

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