Spare Me the Cult of Sally Rooney

Spare Me the Cult of Sally Rooney
(Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP)

I have invented a new literary category, chic lit, to describe all the books written by elite females (Lena Dunham, Caitlin Moran, Elizabeth Day, Dolly Alderton, Sally Rooney, ad infinitum) for elite females. If you’re not one and can’t stand any of them, God help you. Their books will be forced on you anyway. Publishers can’t hear you scream. There is no metric for books kicked around living rooms or dumped in thrift shops. Sally Rooney’s Normal People, for instance, is the worst novel I’ve ever finished. I had to. I was that appalled.

According to Fleabag star Phoebe Waller-Bridge, all a woman wants nowadays is ‘someone to tell me what to eat, what to like, what to hate, what to rage about, what to listen to, what band to like, what to buy tickets for, what to joke about, what not to joke about…what to believe in, who to vote for, and who to love, and how to tell them’. Add to that, and most important: what to read. For highbrow status, the Booker Prize shortlist (out now) will do the job, but to be a woman really worth contending with, you must have waded through the chic lit canon.

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