I'm a chick lit girl.
I love reading books by the lovely Freya North, Katie Fforde, Jenny Colgan and Lisa Jewell. They provide fabulous stories to escape into, and usually restore my faith in love and all that jazz.
What I also love about these books is that I ‘hear’ everything in them. Little asides and whispers are not out of reach as in real life. I get to hear the secrets – something that NEVER happens to me. Honestly, do you know, I used to think the point of the game, Chinese Whispers was to pretend to hear and then make something up!
Anyway, recently I’ve been taking a break from my usual favourites to read a book that Friend Who Knows Big Words gave me for my 30th birthday.
It is: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, and it is wonderful.
But it's not wonderful in an escapist, oh-isn't-everything-fabulous kind of way. Indeed, I spend most of my time wincing in my seat on the bus as each character develops in a thoroughly disagreeable manner.
But what is wonderful is that Oscar Wilde gives you everything you need to know, and often through body language – which is something that I rely heavily on in real life to work out what’s going on – so I feel as though I’m completely immersed in this story. I’m not on the edge of it, as I often feel in real life, I’m right there, hearing, seeing and experiencing everything each character does.
What makes it uncomfortable however, is that with chick lit, you always feel as though the author has the characters best interests at heart, but with Oscar Wilde, I get the feeling that he, like Lord Henry in the book, enjoys toying with their emotions, sending them down unsavoury paths and displaying their foolishness.
It's wonderful in the same way a Swedish massage is wonderful. It’s not all that pleasant at the time but afterwards you're glad you had one.
I get the feeling I will always be happy that I read Dorian Gray, that I stepped out of my Happy Ever After addiction, because after all, life doesn't always give you one of those, does it?