Don Quixote is my favourite character in literature. I simply adore that lesser Spanish nobleman whose brain “had dried out” as a result of reading too many fictional books about chivalry.
So you can imagine my amusement when the lovely Snapdragon embarked on a mission “to care for herself intellectually” or, as I prefer to call it, emerge herself into chick lit.
I took an interest in some of those pastel-covered books as a late-night cure for insomnia.
As far as I could tell, there are three kinds of plots:
1. The main character is a British mother with a child with an unusual disease. The story ends with a court case and sometimes someone dies unexpectedly.
2. The main character is a plain but spoilt young white American woman. Several rich, attractive men are infatuated with her, although I can’t for the life of me understand why. She finds the love of her life, marries him and looks forward to a life of joy and happiness, while years of oppression awaits the poor groom.
3. An American woman with a bad childhood and terrible parents finds a job for which she is not really qualified, but is surprisingly successful, mainly because of her dress sense and shopping prowess. The main character works in media, PR or finance, has a gay male friend and loves to go out for cappuccino. She adores shoes, her husband is a cheating bastard and her lover has no backbone (her own adultery is justifiable).
The books are often – not always – badly written. The plots are unconvincing, seemingly unsolvable problems are abruptly resolved by an unlikely episode and every book features the word “chartreuse” at least once.
In the morning, when I drink my first mug of coffee after yet another sleepless night, I pity the poor Snapdragon. To yield to this cruel punishment voluntarily takes a very special brand of bravery!
Before Black Panther, we also never questioned all-white, American superheros.
Isn’t it time for a few popular women’s novels about a pretty girl from Limpopo who works at Vodacom, wears David Tlale creations and has a crush on a suffering kwaito star?
Come on, South African scribes, there’s a lucrative market waiting. And besides, I believe Snapdragon needs better reading material!