Funny Girl: V.C. Chickering’s Nookietown

A new book, Nookietown, sheds a light on what goes on behind closed doors in suburbia.

Author V.C. Chickering loves the sense of humor she sees in Jersey women.
Author V.C. Chickering loves the sense of humor she sees in Jersey women.
Photo by Kolette Klebber

“Divorce is so crushing,” says new author V.C. Chickering. “It’s so hard to think that any good will come of it.”

But Chickering, a Bernardsville native and former TV writer for Comedy Central, Discovery, Lifetime and other networks, has gotten something out of it: her first novel, Nookietown.

Following her divorce in 2010, the 40-something writer discovered a common thread within her circle of girlfriends: The married ones wanted less sex, while her single friends were clamoring for more. Over drinks, they would discuss kids, sports schedules, “all the normal things,” says Chickering. “When they’d get to me, I’d explain that the only thing I’m missing is a little bit of sex.” Without fail, the married women offered their husbands. “They’d make the joke, then we’d move on,” she says. “But it happened so many times, with so many women, from so many walks of my life. The idea was born.”

Chickering began to write during the summer of 2011 in Bay Head. “I didn’t go to the beach, I didn’t play tennis,” she says. “It was like being on a strict diet.” Writing at a furious pace, she reached 100,000 words just after the new year. She relied on friends for feedback. “I gave it to divorced women, married women, married men,” she says. Ultimately, St. Martin’s Press signed her to a two-book deal; TV rights were sold to Warner Brothers.

Nookietown, due this month, is a sometimes racy, sometimes poignant, always funny novel of Garden State women and sex: married sex, divorced sex, and sleeping-with-your-friend’s-husband sex—with permission, of course. The book is set in the fictional town of Nohquee, a community that the author describes as similar to such progressive, suburban locales as Montclair, South Orange or Maplewood—where Chickering lives with her family (she won’t reveal family details). “Sections of the book are mini-love letters to New Jersey,” she says. “I love the sense of humor of women here. We’re tough broads.”

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