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Guest post: Jessica Katoff believes in Realistically Ever After

I probably don’t need to tell you this, considering you’re on this site and all, but Chick Lit is defined as novels written for, about, or by young educated women; literature that appeals especially to women, usually having a romantic or sentimental theme; and slang for a genre of literature geared towards female readers, which deal with modern issues in women’s live. Notice that the definitions don’t include the words “happily ever after” anywhere in them. So why do books that aren’t tied up in a neat little married-with-a-white-picket-fence-and-two-point-five-kids bow get such a bad rap?

I published my first book in December of 2013 and—spoiler alert—it doesn’t end the way a lot of people thought it should. The overwhelming response has been, “Great book, beautiful writing, horrible ending.” Why? Because it’s realistic. I wrote what I felt was not only true to life, but true to my characters, who I spent five years of my life getting to know. Isn’t variety the spice of life or whatnot? Should all books end so predictably, with happiness and sunshine and rainbows and kittens and all of that fluffy crap? What’s so wrong with a little realism with our sentimental themes and modern issues? Isn’t a story more satisfying, if it’s believable? Don’t you want to feel like these epic tales of love that all of us pen and read can happen to any one of us?

Happiness is different for everyone, I know, but for me, happy is realism. I have been given enough false ideations about how relationships are supposed to go via romantic comedies and Cosmo articles and love songs, that I don’t need the books I read or write to fuel the fire. I mean, I’m single and a little bitter, sure, so maybe that has something to do with it, but I like it when my friends are honest with me and books are my best friends. My main character is introduced to readers on the night her boyfriend of a decade has broken up with her—not with a meet cute and Mr. Right courting our leading lady—and the story follows her through her healing. She is a prime example of a human being, in that she makes decisions like anyone else would in her situation, not how Hollywood would lead you to believe women with broken hearts react: irrational, stupid, thoughtless. She’s broken and damaged, but how she heals and how her story ends are hers alone, and her story ends in the way she wanted it to. She got her happy ending, and isn’t that what matters?

Think about something you really love, like something that evokes a want-you-need-you-die-without-you kind of feeling within you. Got it? Now, imagine the precise opposite of that. Got that, too? Great. Now, that opposing thing, guess what? That’s what I love more than anything on the planet and it makes me endlessly happy. Are you happy for me? Or are you angry because the things that make me happy aren’t the same as yours? You’re looking at it all wrong, if that’s the case. There’s more of your happy out there for you, if everyone else has a happy of their own. We’re all different—we love and think and want differently—and we’re all the heroines in our own stories. Yours doesn’t need to be the same as mine. Just be happy for thy fellow chick, and we can all live realistically ever after.

About Jessica Katoff:

Image Jessica Katoff is a boring CEO by day and a New Adult/Chick Lit/Whatever-You-Want-to-Call-It author by night. When she isn’t pretending to be a professional or staring hopelessly at the blinking cursor on her laptop screen, Jessica loves to marvel at the beauty of live music, not wear pants, bake tasty things, binge watch television shows, drink whiskey, and sleep–not all at once. Jessica hates ignorance, people who talk during movies or with their mouth full, lima beans, and the word “ooze.” A southern Florida native and current resident, she plans on relocating to Tennessee with her two very fluffy pooches as soon as possible, and is currently accepting applications for a devastatingly perfect husband in the greater Nashville area. She released her debut novel, WHAT YOU LEAVE BEHIND, in December of 2013, and expects to release her second novel, SOME OF THE PARTS, in late 2014.


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