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Chicklit for gays?
on 1 December 2012
I must say as a gay man I have never read a 'chicklit' book, a genre clearly intended for women. I was drawn to this because of the setting, a drag nightclub in London, and its cast of outrageous gay men. As far as I know this hasn't really been attempted before, a sort of 'chicklit for gays'; the only one I can think of being Jonathan Harvey's successful 2012 novel 'All She Wants', and perhaps the novels of Julian Clary. This book won't win any literary awards, but then that is hardly the point. It is warm-hearted and funny, and I raced through it.
I note from the writer's blog that her inspiration was a scene from the sitcom 'Miranda' (presumably the scene where she is mistaken for a man in a tranny shop), and actually I was picturing Miranda Hart even before I knew the connection, and I was also reminded of Patricia Hodge's character when reading the scenes with the evil mother. Even the choice of the heroine's name mirrors Miranda's (which, while being Latin and created by Shakespeare, has the ring of mythology about it, which is where 'Persephone' is taken from).
I did enjoy it, but I do wonder whether chicklit as a genre is really for me; while this had elements of the 'gay scene', it was really just another heterosexual romance, and the gay theme was just a conceit to hang a plot on. The gays' love lives are either non-existent or barely touched upon, which is reflected by the character Luke's articulated disgust at the idea of 'gay sex'.
However, its heart is in the right place, and the theme of the book, that we all have something more to offer than surface gloss and not to judge from first impressions, is one which I wish ALL of society held.