Title shamelessly stolen/borrowed from the book I am currently reading, We Need To Talk About Kevin.
My favourite ‘romantic’ book is One Day by David Nicholls. I class it as a romance book for those who hate romances, but I’m no longer sure why. If I read One Day now, a more read individual with feminist values,would I still love it? I am going to guess I wouldn’t and as I don’t generally re-read books I may never find out.
I’ve also read and enjoyed Persuasion and Wuthering Heights as romance novels, and Jane Eyre up until Rochester goes all soppy. But, my point is, why don’t I generally enjoy romance in literature? I’ve been trying to put my finger on it for years. I’m generally quite independent and I don’t enjoy being smothered, but what has that got to do with romance in books?
In all the novels I have listed romance wasn’t instant, nay, love wasn’t instant. I seem to despise long relationship woes and ‘instalove’ (love at first sight). There is nothing more infuriating than reading about people falling in love in a matter of days. Then having to read all about how difficult/magical/heartbreaking it turns out to be. The problem with ‘instalove’ is that it is based on appearance, not the marvellous personalities either may (or more likely won’t) have.
Is something wrong with me? The thought of reading a Mills and Boone or a long story on two people living in love makes me feel ill. It could be my cynicism, a proclivity to read the wrong romance books, or an after effect of two many YA love triangles. Even the classics let me down; the romance in The Woman in White just left me wondering why a man would fall for a weak willed pretty face. Scratch that, I don’t understand why the coolest women ever, Marion, has to be comparable to mainlines in all but her sexual organs. However, the women the protagonist actually wants to marry is personality-less, passive and malleable. Rude.
I feel prejudice towards romance, emotionally stunted if you will. Recommend me your favourite romance books, help me if you can. But, perhaps don’t expect me to change.