Lad lit is a fictional genre of male-authored novels about young men and their emotional and personal lives, often characterized by a confessional and humorous writing style. It often falls under the romantic comedy genre. What? Male-written romance? Yes, it’s a thing. And while it’s arguably targeted towards men, lots of women read it, too.
The question is, where do you start if you’ve never read it before? Well, perhaps you should start how I started.
Anyone remotely familiar with lad lit knows about this novel, as Nick Hornby is widely recognized as originator of the genre. It follows 35-year-old pop-music fanatic Rob Fleming, who owns vintage record shop after his live-in girlfriend leaves him.
I discovered Tropper right before his novel This is Where I Leave You got big. He was occasionally described as the American Nick Hornby, and I would say it was an accurate description. As soon as I read this novel I quickly devoured his back catalogue. This is Where I Leave You follows Judd Foxman after the death of his father results in his entire dysfunctional family to be forced under one roof for a week to observe his shiva.
When it comes to lad lit, you don’t get more prolific than Mike Gayle, and this is the novel that started it all, about Will Kelly, who still hasn’t gotten over his ex-girlfriend after three years. Mike Gayle has an impressive back catalogue and this is where you should start.
I discovered Matthew Norman not long after I’d plowed through all of Jonathan Tropper’s novels. I don’t remember where I found it, but I knew from the cover it was something I’d want to read.
Yes, this is my own novel, but seeing as it was my first novel, and thus, my introduction to writing lad lit, not just reading it, you should give it a try. A book blogger called The Irresponsible Reader called it “a sweet bit of lad lit that’ll fill your heart with song,” and said it was “almost as much a tribute to Nick Hornby as it is a story in the same vein as his work,” with “nods to Jonathan Tropper and Matthew Norman.” So, be sure to check it out as well!