The other day, one of my dear friends (and long-suffering reader of my manuscripts) characterized An Unexpected Exile as "Chick Lit." I immediately felt insulted. After all, isn't "Chick Lit" nothing more than inane, fluffy entertainment for airhead women with little or no intelligence?

So I did a little more research on the genre, and it seems that "Chick Lit," as a sub-genre of women's fiction, can deal with some very serious subjects. The characteristic features of "Chick Lit" are (1) a humorous slant, and (2) a (usually) twenty- or thirty-something female character who (often, but not always) works in the fashion industry and (frequently) enjoys shopping. Well, that about nails Risa, doesn't it?

As a character-study of modern female weakness, An Unexpected Exile probably would qualify as "Chick Lit." But I hope that, in addition to being a quick and entertaining read, it is thoughtful and intelligently presented. More importantly, if it helps women (and men) take an honest and critical look at the uncomfortable subjects of sexual manipulation and relationship-rape, then perhaps "Chick Lit" is a handy vehicle with which to expore these difficult and unsavory topics.