Book Article

Chick Lit 101: Beaus and Booze

EW reviews the latest in chick lit

THE GIRLFRIEND CURSE
Valerie Frankel
Distraught that all her exes marry someone else months after breaking up with her, 32-year-old native New Yorker Peg moves to rural Vermont. Source of Angst En route, she meets a oute guy named Ray and impetuously joins his inward Bound group-therapy program for the lovelorn. Bad Drinking Experience A drunk Peg hits on Linus, who runs the program with his live-in girlfriend. Lowdown Though the outcome is predictable, the city-mouse-in-the-country setup draws laughs (especially Peg's rage at being mistaken for someone from — gasp! — New Jersey). B+

THE OTHER WOMAN
Jane Green
After marrying dreamboat Dan, thirty-something Ellie — estranged from her own family — hopes to form a new one with her likable in-laws. Source of Angst Her seemingly perfect mother-in-law soon over-steps her bounds, meddling in every aspect of Ellie and Dan's life. Bad Drinking Experience Ellie gets tipsy on champagne and flirts with a charming divorcé. Lowdown The mother-in-law escapes mere caricature, and The Other Woman's take on marriage is unexpectedly honest (''Those nights when I lie in bed, hating Dan, wanting to leave, I think that I really did make the wrong choice''). A -

THE BOY I LOVED BEFORE
Jenny Colgan
Bored 32-year-old Brit Flora gets her wish to go back to age 16 and do things over. Source of Angst She still harbors feelings for first love Clelland, now in his 30s, but makes out with classmate Justin, Clelland's younger brother. Bad Drinking Experience During Flora's alcopop-induced table dance at Justin's party, Clelland arrives and carries her off: ''I was, in fact, upside down on Clelland's back and I knew my knickers were showing.'' Lowdown Nothing but a reverse Big. Still, Flora's grown-up regrets provide some gravitas. B+

CHLOE DOES YALE
Natalie Krinsky
By dishing about her dating exploits as the Yale newspaper's sex columnist, Chloe Carrington scares off potential soul mates. Source of Angst She spurns advances from her geeky editor and pines for an anonymous internet admirer. Bad Drinking Experience After guzzling beer at one of Yale's notorious naked parties, Chloe can't locate her clothes — and takes a shuttle bus home wrapped in a garbage bag. Lowdown Despite some funny one-liners, Chloe Does Yale's too caught up in faux Carrie Bradshaw cleverness to offer any real insight for postgrads. B-

Originally posted Feb 28, 2005 Published in issue #809 Mar 04, 2005 Order article reprints