Not So Guilty Pleasures: An unabashed defense of Nora
Growing up, I was very quick to pick up reading, literally devouring the books appropriate for "my age" and quickly became bored with the traditional Babysitters Clubs and Sweet Valley High books that my peers were reading...and then my parents were reading (I read everything John Grisham wrote by the time I was ten,) and then moved on to the "hard stuff." Shakespeare? Bronte? Wallace? Nope. ROBERTS. Nora Roberts. Nora who you may ask? Go look at your mom's bookshelf. It's like a mom rule. Moms love Nora.
I'll never forget my first experience with Nora. We were on a family camping trip and I'd run out of reading material, (not a good moment for Ashley Fears,) and so (surely without thinking about what she was about to do,) my mother handed me a worn paperback copy of Sanctuary. Oh. my. lawd... There was murder. There was mystery. There was sex. But best of all, there were female characters who didn't just sigh (their milky white bosom heaving,) and wait for prince charming, (who inevitably would look like Fabio,) to ride up and save them. They were complex, interesting, and flawed women who had interesting jobs and interests & didn't want to immediately get married and breed. I became a total Nora devotee.
Now I'm not sitting here saying that I only read chick lit, or that you should somehow offer Nora the next Pulitzer for literature. Her books are incredibly formulaic, from the initial meeting where the characters meet, (who are always incredibly attractive and mutually attracted to one another/repulsed by one another,) to the inevitable fight, break up, the near brush with death/the killer, (if there is one,) and finally the "we realize that we can't live without each other and that's okay" ending. And I love every predictable minute of it. There's really nothing like getting lost in one of Nora's artfully detailed worlds for a few hours, or a few days, (generally the time it takes me to tear through one of her novels.) You know it's just going to be a lovely adventure with a happy ending. And sometimes, that's all we really need right? (Regardless what the New York Times says.)