Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Doctor chick lit?

I always used to read a lot as a kid, but when I started med school, I decided that anything I read ought to be medicine-related, so I pretty much gave up on reading for fun. ("What, you mean reading Robbins' Pathological Basis of Disease wasn't fun??") But in my last year of residency, I was sufficiently bored that I decided to open myself back up to fiction again.

I'm mildly embarrassed to admit it, but I LOVE chick lit. I don't know why, because I hate fashion and flowers and jewelry and everything else girly. But I love these books. It's especially shocking because I used to be SUCH a little book snob when I was a teenager, and I'm sure I would have mocked Older Me mercilessly for reading a book about a woman who helps her quirky ghost great-aunt find a lost necklace (bonus points if you know what book I'm talking about).

But I don't have anything to prove anymore, so I'm going to read what I want, dammit. I recently discovered a list of the ultimate top 100 chick lit novels and noting that I've already read and enjoyed 7 of the top 10, I've decided to make it my mission for 2011 to work my way through the list. Come on, who's with me?

But you know what bugs me about chick lit? How come none of the female protagonists are ever doctors??

Seriously! On that list of 100 books, you'll find women who are lawyers, teachers, PR reps (a popular chick lit career), i-bankers, and basically tons of great careers. No doctors. There are no chick lit books about doctors.

Why the hell not? There are lots of doctors writing memoirs. There are lots of thrillers written about doctors. (I used to be a big Robin Cook fan, until I realized the villain was always Evil Managed Care.) There are tons of TV shows about doctors, some of which involve doctors hooking up a lot (Grey's Anatomy). There are comedies about doctors (Scrubs). So I don't know why female doctors can't be the protagonists in chick lit? The Devil can wear scrubs, can't she?

You can probably tell this really bothers me. Why can't someone write a novel about a female doctor who's riding on a plane, ends up telling all her secrets to the cute guy next to her, then it turns out he's her new boss and also she has a shopping addiction? What's up with that?

22 comments:

  1. Shall I write a chick-lit book with a doc then?

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  2. Fizzy, NaNoWriMo next year (or sometime for SURE) I am totally writing a chic-lit book with a Dr protagonist.

    BTW -- I am totally with you re: working your way through the top 100. I've been meaning to read more fiction lately anyway, and this sounds like fun.

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  3. I am currently a 2nd year med student in the midst of Pathology and Step studying and in case you've forgotten I shall remind you....no, reading Robbins' Pathological Basis of Disease is not fun.

    :)

    Chick lit however is fun! I will make time to read more....someday. =/

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  4. In "How To Be Good" by Nick Hornby the protagonist is a doctor. Not quite chick lit but close enough.

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  5. I have officially bookmarked the list!! :)

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  6. Fizzy, this is your book waiting to be written!

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  7. Oh, I love the Aunt Dimity books. Seems like years ago there was a chick lit type book about 3 girls who are friends in med school. One becomes an OB in Seattle, one a plastic surgeon in Hawaii and I can't recall the other one. Can't recall the title but it was definitely chick lit-ish even though the term wasn't invented at the time. Don't have the book anymore but will try to run down the title.

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  8. PS: The third friend goes to Africa and becomes a missionary. And eureka! (yay, internet) the name of the book is Vital Signs by Barbara Wood. It is still available on amazon.

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  9. Doctor Blondie and OMDG: If either of you write a doctor chick lit novel, you absolutely MUST send it to me!

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  10. I was actually getting all snobby in my head while I was reading this - my holiday reading consisted of National Book Award winners and Nobel Prize authors. But lo and behold, when I clicked on the link - I had read 5 of the top 10! Didn't recognize too many of the subsequent ones, but still.

    Yes, I do like to indulge in chick lit, occasionally. It's like brain candy, the ultimate unwind for the fact-addled professional brain. I would read any chick lit written by you, Fizzy! Please indulge your followers. And thanks for reminding me not to get snobby about anything, ever. Alas, no bonus points for me.

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  11. I have personally read 6 of the top 10 and I'm not ashamed! I love Chick Lit, especially for airplanes, sick days and bubble baths. The serious stuff gets too much when you're trying to use it as a break from board exam studying. I am, however, somewhat disappointed that Maeve Binchy didn't make the list.

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  12. Astute observation about the protagonist occupations - in writing it may not seem as marketable but in recent years, 2 rom-com protagonists have been workaholic female doctors: Just like Heaven and The Lake House.

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  13. Ah, Fizzy, you hit the nail on the head again. Nothing like a great piece of escapism from the work day (and like Gizabeth, I look upon it as brain candy - something that makes life as enjoyable as a terrific piece of chocolate, but you wouldn't want to live on it).

    I noticed that one of my favorite books is number 19 on the list ("I Don't Know How She Does It" by Allison Pearson) - I read this initially when I was in the midst of a seriously crazy time of my life and have re-read it a number of times since then. And yes, I have read many others on the list as well!

    A

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  14. Ah, Fizzy, you hit the nail on the head again. Nothing like a great piece of escapism from the work day (and like Gizabeth, I look upon it as brain candy - something that makes life as enjoyable as a terrific piece of chocolate, but you wouldn't want to live on it).

    I noticed that one of my favorite books is number 19 on the list ("I Don't Know How She Does It" by Allison Pearson) - I read this initially when I was in the midst of a seriously crazy time of my life and have re-read it a number of times since then. And yes, I have read many others on the list as well!

    A

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  17. I just finished reading Oxygen by Carol Cassella. It has a female MD protagonist and has some features of chick lit and mystery intertwined, although not purely chick lit zone by far.

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  18. Dr Fizzy,
    I think you must be my soul sister from another mister. I get a strange nodding twitch when I read your posts.
    I justify my chick lit habit a couple of ways,
    Carrying so much responsibility at work and home is hard and sometimes you just need to switch off the brain and go for a ride (old way)
    I am interested in the human experience. This is why I love medicine, films, reading, talking to people on trains.

    A good chick lit novel really gets into the mind of the main characters. It helps me understand one take on a situation, therefore be a better doctor and person in general (new way)

    Any which way I justify it, when I have the time, I love to escape into a good chick lit novel and have bookmarked your link!

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  19. Baby, I have WRITTEN chick lit, with doctor and non-doctor chick protagonists, and I can tell you that part of the reason why it's not getting published right now because New York is sinking and doesn't know how to swim. But if any of you want to read it, or even an excerpt, ping me.

    I like chick lit, as well as any kind of lit, but as usual, they got excited, flooded the market with crap, and killed the trend. I did get tired of reading about characters whose main problem was they had a crappy job and a crappy boyfriend and not enough self-esteem to tell them both to take a hike...until 200 pages later. And all the label name-dropping annoyed me, since I'm a no logo kind of gal.

    British chick lit still exists and is a step up. Usually, their problems are more of the crazy family variety. I can relate.

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    Replies
    1. hello Melissa, I would like to read your books. I've been looking for forever for a book with a doctor as a protagonist. can you email me your books? thanks so much.:) here may email add: ejdg08@yahoo.com thanks so much again.:)

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  20. Hey Melissa, I don't know how to ping you, but I'd love to read your doctor chick lit. You can email me at fizzziatrist@gmail.com

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  21. 24-Karat Kids by Dr. Judy Goldstein and Sebastian Stuart should be just what you are looking for.

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