A protagonist in a chick lit book is typically a self-critical female with unreasonably high expectations. In “24-Karat Kids”, a novel by Dr. Judy Goldstein and Sebastian Stuart, Shelley is hired as a pediatrician at a ritzy Upper East Side office. She quickly realizes that she doesn’t look like the other women that work, or visit the office everyday. She’s very critical of her own appearance, “Staring back at me was a plain, tubby young woman with an absurdly garish scarf around her neck” (Goldstein 12). Shelly isn’t built like the other females and wasn’t raised wealthy.
She is unreasonable to expect herself to look exactly like the others and fit in instantly. She critiques her body in every mirror she passes and quickly adopts a strict diet: “I’d been on the only diet that worked for me: starvation” (Goldstein 30). In order to fit her unreasonably high expectation of achieving the “perfect” body, she goes to extreme lengths. Shelley has been in a serious relationship for over two years with a man named Arthur. He has a secure job, is kind and compassionate and has recently proposed. The two begin apartment hunting and stumble upon a nice unit in Brooklyn.
Shelly used to love Brooklyn before she started her new job. When Arthur pressures her to share her opinion on the apartment she wonders, “Why did my mind keep racing back to the Upper East Side, to Dr. Marge and Amanda Walker and Christina Allen, to a world filled with wealth, excitement and glamour” (Goldstein 53). Her current lifestyle just isn’t good enough for her anymore. She wants the luxury her clients and coworkers experience. Although she has a fiance many dream of having and the chance to move in to a comfortable apartment, she can’t settle for anything less than the best.
Chick lit books are typically written in first person to allow the protagonist to analyze and share her opinions on all matters. Shelley and her fiance Arthur go apartment hunting a week after Arthur’s proposal. They have never lived together before and Shelley is hesitant to oblige. Arthur is pressuring her to sign a lease and she thinks, “In many ways I was just beginning my life and the idea of giving up my independence seemed, I don’t know, rushed. Couldn’t it wait until we were married” (Goldstein 30).
Since the book is written in first person, Shelley is able to let the reader in on exactly what is going through her head. She doesn’t really want to move in, but can’t tell Arthur that. If she wasn’t able to share her though process with the reader then people would think Shelley was actually okay with this relationship milestone. Later in the week Shelley meets her new boss. She has an image in her head of what she expects the woman will look like but over analyzes her when they meet for the first time anyways: “she looked as if she should have been out shopping on Madison Avenue.
Somewhere in her fifties, she had frosted blonde hair and expert, subtle makeup, and was wearing high heels and a belted magenta jumpsuit that accentuate her tiny waist. Definitely the most glamorous doctor I had ever seen” (Goldstein 14). Shelley describes what people are wearing in excessive detail all the time. She often make a judgment about their personality based on their outward appearance and always shares these with the reader. Her thorough analysis of the other characters allows readers to gain a better understanding of how everyone in the novel interacts.
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