Author – Harika Bantupalli
The world of literature is swayed by mainstream genres like classics, mystery, thrillers and romance; however, there has always been a craving for new literary styles. The end of 20th and the early 21st Centuries have witnessed the emergence of new literary genres that catered to different sections of book raeaders.
While the mainstream genres focus on the grandeur of literature and transport their readers to a new world, these new genres emphasized on issues, problems and lifestyle of a contemporary being. They’re known for their lighthearted banter and a non-serious way of storytelling. These literary genres are singularly written for groups of people and are hence named accordingly: Chick Lit, Lad Lit and Kid Lit, some of the modern literary genres that garnered importance in the recent years.
This literary genre, known to be created by two renowned women’s book authors Jane Green and Meg Cabot, has been on the rise since the late 1990s. It is made up of two words – ‘Chick’, an American lingo for Woman and ‘Lit’, a word short for literature. Chick-Lit focuses on the various issues of contemporary womanhood often in a comic and airy manner. The plot often revolves around one or a couple of female protagonists and their issues that may include anything from the struggle of finding oneself or creating an identity.
Romance is often the sub-plot of this genre, which along with the themes of dating and relationships, is considered one of the traditional themes of Chick Lit. Helen Fielding’s “Bridget Jones Diary”, Candace Bushnell’s “Sex and the City” and Sophie Kinsella’s “Shopaholic” series are generally considered as the classic prototypes of Chick Lit. The genre made its way into Indian Literature with acclaimed novels like “Trust Me” by Rajashree and “The Zoya Factor” by Anuja Chauhan. However, Chick Lit has a long way to go in our country. Although this genre is particularly written by women for women, there have been a few books authored by men like Zack Love and Matt Dunn, who give men’s take on the women-centric plots.
Derived from the words ‘lad’ (British for boy) and ‘Lit’, this literary genre is the male-counterpart of Chick Lit. It is also known as “Dick Lit” in America, which in other words, it is literature for men, written by men. This genre goes along the lines of Chick Lit, involving humorous narrations and depictions of various themes that focus on the lives of men. The plotlines typically revolve around issues of manhood like career, friendships, family, love, relationships and sex.
Lad Lit became popular with themes connected to Chick Lit written through a man’s perspective. Nick Hornby became the uncrowned king of Lad Lit with best-selling books such as “About a Boy”, “High Fidelity” and “Pitch Fever”, while Danny Wallace, Tony Parsons, Nick Spalding and Mike Gayle are the other important authors in the Lad-Lit club. In India, the literary world is swayed by books like “Five Point Someone”, “The 3 Mistakes of My Life”, “Revolution 2020” and other works of Chetan Bhagat. These are the best examples for the Lad Lit category.
Kid Lit, also known as juvenile literature is more like a literary category that pertains to the writings that interest children. These may include board books, picture books and chapter books depicting stories or novels that are easy for kids to understand. This genre targets those children who can read and comprehend little stories to the ones in their adolescence.
The number of chapters and word count of the books in these genres may vary according to the age groups. For example, “Flower Fairies Friends” by Cicely Mary Barker, “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” by Jeff Kinney and “Shadow Children” series by Margaret Peterson Haddix may vary in the levels of comprehensions and the number of words due to their target audience, even when they all qualify as Kid Lit.
In a world where there is a constant thirst for something new, even in literature; genres like Chick lit, Lad lit and Kid lit come in as a breath of fresh air portraying the problems of the present age and enabling their readers to relate to the characters.