We Need To Talk About: Romance

Title shamelessly stolen/borrowed from the book I am currently reading, We Need To Talk About Kevin.

Couple kissingMy 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.

Image by Joop van Dijk

10 thoughts on “We Need To Talk About: Romance

  1. Ah, yes, I sympathize. I’ve become rather fond of romance novels in the last year, but they’re still not my favoritest of all favorite genres. I’d recommend Meredith Duran, though, if you’re going to read anyone. Maybe like, Wicked Becomes You? Or if you want a modern one, something by Julie James?

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  2. Romance is my guilty secret, but even though I love it, sometimes I want to give the genre a shake for tenuous attraction and lazy characterization. Try: Me before You by Jojo Moyles for all the classics of the genre taken to an unusal place, or either of Stella Newman’s books (I’d recommend Pearshaped) for not-your-run-of-the-mill thinking woman’s chic lit.

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    1. I loved Me Before You, completely forgot about that book when writing this post. I was surprised I liked it actually, as it was full of sappiness. I think it was because Moyles is a clever writer.

      Thank you for the rec, I’ve not heard of Stella Newman before.

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  3. I’ve found myself feeling exactly the same these past few years. Watching romance on film or reading about it just doesn’t seem to appeal to me anymore. I’ve begun to avoid books that claim to be all about a relationship and try and find something where, if there is a romance, it’s part of the subplot and not the whole story.

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  4. I actually haven’t been the biggest fan of romance novels..or even movies lately but I went through a lot of heartbreak this past year so I’m kind of a cynic.

    I still have yet to read Wuthering Heights. I want to see what that book is all about but I just haven’t gotten to it. 😛

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    1. I can’t recommend Wuthering Heights enough!

      Sorry to hear about your heartbreak, but know that there is nothing wrong with being kind of a of a cynic. I am a lot of a cynic so you are fine hehe 🙂

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