Mommy Lit: Bona-Fide Genre or Nonsense?

Lizzie Skurnick appears in today’s Style section with an article offering an overview of mommy lit, what Lizzie describes as “written in the wry voices of a generation of women who came of age after feminism, and they have a newly competitive, higher-end set of woes: $10,000 pacifier consultants, nanny-swiping and Harvard-like nursery school applications. Also present is chick-lit’s familiar cast of characters: the single best friend, the dutiful boyfriend (now husband) and a seductive other man who threatens to upset the apple cart.”

Barking Kitten takes umbrage with this, observing, “These writers are but a sliver of society, the hopelessly out-of-touch wealthy inhabiting the coasts. The article does give mention to blogs complaining about this rarified [sic] air, but the publishing world, personified by editor Stacy Creamer, who brought us masterwork The Devil Wears Prada, is all over the trend, anxious to capitalize on a strollerful of publications before the Mummies turn to divorce and menopause.”

Certainly, there have been books, including those cited in Lizzie’s article, that have attempted to capitalize on how to keep chick lit going. As those who read chick lit in the late ’90’s have started families, it makes complete sense to appeal to these new audiences, particularly if you’re an avaricious publisher. However, I must also take partial umbrage with mom lit — not because I have any objection to books which deal with mothers, but because a novel dealing with hyperaffluent maternity suggests more of a masturbatory fantasy than fiction rooted in realism. At least with chick lit, a genre which caters to valid, albeit wildly optimistic tales that often dwell upon women’s issues, there’s some sense of verisimilitude merged with fantasy. Mom lit, by contrast, involves milking the teat on a cash cow.


  1. Thank you and amen!

    BTW–I kept thinking Lizzie Skurnick…why do I know that name?? Ah, yes! Ms. Hag! Nothing against her. NYT editors: Her skills merit a finer subject,

  2. Nerve’s new side-project, babble (I think?) is a good example of this. While the number of people in the demographic of affluent, urban young parents is relatively small, it’s a demographic a lot of people aspire to be in, and purchasing something that appears to fit in with that demographic gives them a positive, albeit illusory, self-image. See also: Seventeen Magazine and Chryslers for the nouveau riche.

    I don’t think anyone likes hip, young parents except other hip, young parents and baby boomers too old to know the difference.

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