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Mommy, am I cult?

A former literary snob making her way back to commercial reads.

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The Silver Linings Playbook
Matthew Quick
You Should Pity Us Instead
Amy Gustine

Valley of the Dolls

Valley of the Dolls - Jacqueline Susann Remember mid-century sexism?

Imagine that you are a boring good girl, who just moved to New York City and has everything that a young woman just relocated to the city could dream: a menial, but somehow glamorous job, and a crappy apartment to share with an artsy BFF. (There is a whole bohemian beauty in having crappy apartments in NY.)

You also hang around with this guy Allen, not because you like him, but because in the peak of your boring qualities, you are the person that likes to go out to have dinner with people so you can tell them what they should do with their lives. Also, the poor-crappy-insurance guy would be an amazing friendzone guy.

Then, Allen, the supposed poor “nice guy” drops the bomb in a series of dialogs that could be resumed like this:
- I’m rich. And also, we’re engaged!
- Oh, Allen, but I don’t want to marry you!
- Silly you! You’re gonna change your mind, because… I’m rich!
- But I don’t love you!
- But you’ll end up loving me anyway, because… I’m rich!
- But I don't wanna kiss you!
- Oh, that's because you probably don't like sex!

So you, like the boring good girl that you are, accept this forced engagement until you muster the balls to tell the asshole that he is out of his freaking mind. When your engagement goes public (first page in the newspaper, not that you were consulted about it or anything), your boss comes to tell you:

“Hey, you have to keep going in this farsical engagement, because if you don’t, you will fall in love with the office hunky womanizer. If you disobey, Ill fire you. I'm only doing this because I'm such a nice guy that I like to pry into my employees personal lives. See? I'm worried about you!”

Yes, the plot is ridiculous like that.

And yes, she falls in love with the office hunk anyway. And cries after the first kiss, murmuring "Thanks for making me believe in love!"

But this is not exactly that kind of book. Although predictable at times, this is not the usual chick lit. There is no Happily Ever After. The main message here seems to be how miserable is the life of rich and famous (like a cheesy The Greek), the main focus on women… or how being a woman sucks. Or used to. Be the judge of that.

“This is a men’s world, and women only reign in it while they’re young and beautiful.”

Why should women work hard in a career they are passionate about? So they can and up alone and buy things that they could have bought ten years ago if they had just married a rich guy?

And to think some women still want to live in a society, where their only relevant merits would be youth, beauty, capability of pleasing men and looking the other way when your husband invariably will get bored of you, because you spent your entire life trying to interest others, and not being worthy of interest yourself (virtually the same thing, so different in practice!).