Novel Depravity

Forget the liberation of Syria. London riots, begone. The news story that has really got book lovers up in arms over the past couple of months is the ‘chick lit makes us nuts’ controversy.

For those of you blissfully unaware of this chiefly web-waged war, it all kicked off in June when the founder of LDS Life Coaching, Kimberly Sayer Giles, wrote an article for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints owned site claiming that “romance novels can be as addictive as pornography”, and that their “entrancing but distorted messages” are making women “dangerously unbalanced” and incapable of conducting a healthy relationship. Bizarrely, a month later the British Journal of Family Planning and Reproductive Health Carepublished an article on a very similar theme by Susan Quilliam, warning that “a deep strand of escapism, perfectionism and idealisation runs through the genre. Clearly those messages run totally counter to those we try to promote.”

Cue some fantastic rebuttals from the likes of Sarah Wendell at Smart Bitches Trashy Books and a hilarious #romancekills Twitter campaign created by crime author Jason Pinter (my personal favourite: “2/3 of car wrecks are caused by drivers jackknifing when realizing they forgot to buy the new Nora Roberts” from Michaela Basham).