Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Ms. Taken Identity-Dan Begley

Ms. Taken Identity
Dan Begley
5 Spot, Jun 22 2009, $13.99
ISBN: 9780446506182

PhD candidate Mitch Samuel writes an epic tale about life on the farm, but like all his other manuscripts, the publishing industry rejects it. He explodes ripping each paper of his book and a magazine owned by a neighbor. Feeling guilty for ripping up People, he goes to the bookstore to buy a replacement. While there he goes over the top in a fiery rage when he sees Katharine Longwell's latest numbing novel.

He steals a copy of The Cappuccino Club planning to put it in a bonfire but begins to read it while sipping coffee at Starbucks. Katharine sees what he is reading and joins Mitch. He tells her that his cousin is considering writing a chick-lit tale and Katharine offers to help her. Mitch assumes chick lit should be easy – dump down. However, he cannot think like a chick lit aficionado so he tries Oprah and a dance class accompanied by his roommate’s sister Marie, a hairdresser. To his shock he likes Marie and being with her though as an intellect he cannot fathom why.

This is an amusing satire of gender sub-genre stereotypes using hyperbole to exaggerate the acceptable roles. This makes for a humorous story line, but also leaves Mitch as an unlikable intellectual snob who mocks chick lit and its fans as being shallow morons; he bites the hands that might feed him. Still chick lit fans contrary to the protagonist’s scorn will enjoy the lampooning of their sub-genre while hoping Mitch is exposed as one of their writers.

Harriet Klausner

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