Chick Lit Gone Recessionista


In a piece on Double X today, Sarah Bilston eulogizes chick lit, arguing that the genre was an early-aughts lark, no longer compatible with America’s newly blighted economy. But is chick lit dead, or is it simply in need of a budget makeover? Bilston predicts: “In the next months and years, expect to see plots that turn on overcoming repossession and job-loss, not shopping and sex.” What about the books that built the foundation of Manolo’s, cupcakes and engagement rings on which chick lit stands? We decided to get out our red pen and edit a few chick lit classics to better reflect our current financial climate.

The Devil Wears Prada Vera Wang for Kohl’s (From Publishers Weekly) Most recent college grads know they have to start at the bottom and work their way up are desperate. But not many picture themselves having to pick up their boss’s dry cleaning secretly hand-wash their boss’s dry-clean-only clothes, deliver them hot lattes McCafes, land them copies of the newest Harry Potter book before it hits stores Twilight book before libraries institute a wait-list and screen potential nannies for their children realtors to unload their summer homes. Charmingly unfashionable Andrea Sachs, upon graduating from Brown CUNY, finds herself in this precarious position: she’s an assistant to the most revered-and hated-woman in fashion business journalism, Runway editor-in-chief Miranda Priestly Dividends editor-in-chief Shmoanne Lipman. The self-described “biggest fashion loser bad investor to ever hit the scene,” Andy takes the job hoping to land at the New Yorker after a year that the magazine will go at least a couple more months without folding. As the “lowest-paid-but-most-highly-perked assistant in the free world,” she soon learns her Nine West loafers stock portfolio won’t cut it and that the four years she spent memorizing poems and examining prose will not help her in her new role of “finding, fetching, or faxing” whatever the diabolical Miranda wants, immediately. when the magazine does indeed fold. D’oh!

Bergdorf Blondes Banana Republic Brunettes (From Publishers Weekly) They’re ravenous. They’re ruthless. They live in a strictly hierarchical, alpha-dog, eat-or-be-eaten world. No, it’s not a rerun of Wild America; it’s the world of dressed-to-the-nines Park Avenue heiresses ex-heiresses, aka Bergdorf Blondes BR Brunettes, botoxed to within an inch of their barely-into-the-third-decade lives once botoxed and now beginning to wrinkle. Our unnamed London-born heroine is New York’s favorite “champagne-bubble-about-town” and just as effervescent and exhilarating as a fine bottle of Dom Perignon Arbor Mist. Blissfully self-interested and flush with the cheeriness weariness that comes from being, well, flush poor, Miss Disposable Income 2004 Chapter 11 ’09 sashays her way through New York society in search of the perfect P. G.S.B.H.H. (PotentialGoldman Sachs Bonus Holding Husband)–“Have you any idea how awesome your skin looks if you are engaged monopolizing Wall Street?”–and the perfect butt-shaping pair of Chloe jeans stay-in, weekend-friendly Slanket.

The Nanny Madoff Diaries (From Publishers Weekly) Mrs. X seems reasonable enough when she hires Nan to look after her four-year-old son aging financial manager, Grayer Bernie, but she quickly reveals herself to be a monster a bundle of neuroses wrapped up in PradaH&M, whose son financier is little more than another status symbol in a fabulous Park Avenue apartment a Ponzi schemer who needs constant supervision. Mr. X is just as horrible, although he’s rarely seen or heard, too busy navigating mergers and mistresses evading authorities to make time for a family starving for his affection more capital. Nan finds herself stuck in a low-paying job from which she can be fired made redundant on a whim as soon as the Fed catches on, enduring a steady stream of condescension, indifference and passive-aggressive notes on Mrs. X’s posh stationery nonexistent assets.