Sidebar: I'm amused that this man writing on novels for wussy men shares a last name with Jimmy Kimmel, former host of the tongue-in-cheek-manly Man Show.
I don't agree with Kimmel fully, although I do agree that these boy lit books are not very interesting in general. As a genre, I hope to see fewer and fewer of them in bookstores in years to come.
Sidebar: I read Nick Hornsby when he first arrived. I was amused. I wanted the man/men I was dating at that time to grow up, and the fantasy of a guy who could actually recognize that he needed to grow up but was still fun and daring and a bit juvenile was appealing. Perhaps I'm just getting old.
But I think Kimmel is skirting an issue which can't be ignored. Why are these books being written at all? What do they tell us about our young men? Kimmel writes,
Virtually every writer of guy lit is an almost-thirtysomething graduate of an elite college or university. Their college pedigrees read like the college rankings at a certain national magazine: Brown (Sam Lipsyte), Harvard (Benjamin Kunkel), Stanford (Erik Barmack), Wesleyan (Scott Mebus), Yale (Kyle Smith). Each writer, and their characters, lives in New York City. Each work is written in the first person, by a destabilized, unreliable narrator; these books are like one long run-on sentence of self-justification and rationalization. "I don't want your wholesome values, your reasonably good judgment," says Jeb Braun, protagonist in Erik Barmack's The Virgin. "My goal isn't to please you. So if you're expecting the whole handshake and nod routine, you can stop reading right now."
Elite. Destabilized. Unreliable. Self-justfication. Rationalization.
The long, whiney, boring, unfulfilling, and hyper-selfish "I". These books are the products of a lack of balance. I think I'm going to read Little Women again.