Ah yes, “women’s fiction”. Dear Emma by Katie Heaney would most definitely fit into this genre of books, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t like it. Yes, I enjoy thought-provoking literature, but I also enjoy reading a book about a fluffy university girl whose biggest problem is getting over some jerk who didn’t text her back. In fact, I love reading books about university life now, simply because it’s no longer women’s fiction to me; it’s FANTASY. Sleeping in until whenever you want? Eating a pizza at 2am with girlfriends? Going out three nights in a row to get drunk without worrying about the consequences? I realize this was my life at one point (I distantly remember going to university for four years) yet I couldn’t quite recall this feeling of freedom, until I read this book. People commonly refer to these years as the best time of their life. While I was there, I definitely didn’t feel that way. Not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because I looked forward to being an adult…what I fool I was.
Heaney was a master at dropping the reader into this world. I imagined her characters in my old apartment from university, and I could easily see their conversations playing out the same way mine did back then; it was so realistic, I could practically smell my old library! I really enjoyed the protagonist Harriet too, she was the real life author behind the fictitious advice columnist ‘Emma’, and a type-A student who experienced great pleasure in colour coding her study notes and arriving on time for her work study shifts at the library. Yes, she was a bit one-dimensional, and her obsession with Keith, (the guy who ditches her) is a bit wearing at times, but she was also incredibly realistic, if I met Harriet in real life, I’d probably find her getting on my nerves too. The book was basically about her getting over him.
Women’s fiction/chick lit is popular, lots of my friends read it, and I don’t blame them-it’s fun! And what’s great about Dear Emma is that Heaney has written an enveloping, light-hearted yet REALISTIC book, which is hard to do. Do people get drunk and agonize over relationships in university? Of course they do, which is why this book is shallow yet truthful. It’s also really funny, because Katie Heaney works at and writes for buzzfeed, and that shit is hilarious.