“Trick Lit”: Is There Really Any Out There?


By Neal Comment

Seth Godin recently coined the term “trick lit” to describe what he calls “a chick lit novel that pretends to be something else, hoping to rope people in with an interesting premise. 30 pages later, you discover that you were deceived, that it’s just another piece of genre trash.” Now, my scorn for stupid criticisms of chick lit, even from hotshot NY Times columnists, is well-documented, but I’m not here to beat Godin up over calling the genre “trash,” especially since he’s already backed down from that label. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve seen the kind of book he’s talking about—although, honestly, I think it’s actually more likely for fiction of a perfectly reasonable literary standard to be marketed under a pink cover, or confused for chick lit by critics, as it is for formula genre stories to sneak over into literary territory.

Godin didn’t give any examples of what he meant by the term on his blog, however, so I shot him an email asking if he had a specific book in mind. He said it was based on something that had happened to his son a while back, and he wasn’t sure what book it was. So I put it to you, readers: Have you ever been “tricked” into reading chick lit? Or have you started reading a book that you thought was going to be a piece of fluff that turned out to be rather substantial in the end? (As you’ll see at some point in the next 24 hours, the question is not merely rhetorical…)