Monday, February 14, 2005

New York Daily News -
Chick lit hatches feud
by Lloyd Grove
Monday, February 14th, 2005

What's love got to do with it?

It might be Valentine's Day, but I hear a nasty squabble is brewing between the publishers of two rival sex-and-romance handbooks.

Simon & Schuster and Greg Behrendt, co-author of last fall's huge best seller, "He's Just Not That Into You" - advising spurned women to let go and move on - are taking aim at publisher Judith Regan and sex therapist Ian Kerner, author of the brand-new "Be Honest - You're Not That Into Him Either."

Lawyers for Behrendt and co-author Liz Tuccillo - former colleagues on HBO's "Sex and the City" - have sent ReganBooks a stern letter about Kerner's similar title.

"I have heard that they are very unhappy with my book," Kerner told me. "They think I'm trying to confuse people. But I'm not trying to capitalize on their book. I disagree with the message of their book, even though I think it's funny and clever, and my book is meant as a clear response to their book."

Kerner added: "Their book is, frankly, disempowering to women. My book tries to empower women."

The sharp-tongued Regan, predictably, was not so diplomatic.

"I get saber-rattling letters and threats and subpoenas on a weekly basis from various sundry lunatics," Regan told me. "No self-respecting woman would be caught dead reading Greg Behrendt's book. It's misogynistic, infantile, adolescent and written by two people who really know nothing about anything."

Regan went on: "It's so insulting to women - especially women in New York, where women are treated so badly by men in a hooking-up culture where they are used and abused. Both Ian and I found 'He's Just Not That Into You' incredibly stupid and offensive, and we wanted to say something smart about relationships."

Behrendt - who with Tuccillo received more than $1 million to adapt their book for Hollywood - didn't respond to messages seeking comment, and Simon & Schuster was equally mum.

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