Mad About the Boy: The Phenomenon of Fictional Autobiography

Selma Veseljević Jerković


Chick-lit has been subjected to accusations that it is too “realistic“, that the women who write autobiographical works about homely matters such as motherhood, relationship issues and family problems forget the fundamental imperative of writing fiction, “making stuff up“. It is to be found on the great divide between two “literatures“, “good“one which teaches and the “popular“one which “sells real life“. Instead of innocence and naiveté of traditional heroines, chick-lit describes the tales of singles: young, emancipated women who live and work in big Western centres. The protagonists are openly questioning traditional forms of feminine behaviour promoted by romance novels, such as affection for cooking, laundry and cleaning, and, more importantly, reject the passivity of women in relationships, which can be visible in active search of protagonists for a man. Traditional border between the private and public sphere is particularly blurred, while the protagonists enjoy and participate in all the aspects of modern city life. The usage of first-person narration and deliberately naive form of realism encourages the readers and critics to substitute these fictional characters for real-life personas, to consider novels as autobiographical works, which lead to the phenomenon of Bridget Jones as the everywoman. The penultimate Bridget Jones novel, Mad about the Boy (2013), placed in the literary context of fictional women’s diaries, attempts to convince readers of its authenticity using various devices, such as self-depreciation, allowing the reader to feel superior to the protagonist and offering the reader a direct feed of Bridget’s consciousness.


chick-lit; autobiography; diary; femininity; postfeminism

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