(I originally posted this to MyMedia, where barely anyone at all admits to reading, let alone liking, romance. After a bit of thinking about it, I decided to share it over here too. No need to thank me 🙂 )
If you read romance–and by this, I mean, you have read at least six to ten romance genre books–and if you like it, you will find this both hilarious to the point of tears, and completely accurate.
If you don’t read romance, you may still find it funny and interesting, but you’ll probably miss a lot of the inside jokes.
A bit of a foreword:
Several times throughout the year, but invariably during February, a number of think pieces on the romance genre will make the rounds–from large media outlets to lesser known sites, people who do not actually read the genre will write condescendingly about it. Often, the author will make it clear that she is a fan of science fiction, or literary fiction, or action; any romance she read was only in the interest of research. Also, invariably, the books she read for the article are not, alas, actual genre romance. (No, Wuthering Heights is not genre romance. No, Rebecca is not genre romance. No, by all that’s holy, Flowers in the Attic is not genre romance. No, genre romance is not mommy porn, there’s plenty of romance without graphic sex. (Also, for those who are interested, mommy porn is just like men porn: sex that doesn’t require any emotional involvement, preferably without the tacky soundtrack) No, it’s no more a formula than any other type of genre fiction, because what matters is the journey and the character arc.)
The condescension over genre romance shows up often enough that some romance readers have grown…well, just a wee bit jaded about the whole pink heart-shaped ball of wax. Some, more generous than me, have even published some guidance for those who must, simply must write a romance think piece. (To whit: Romance Novel Think Piece for Dummies, by Jessica Tripler at BookRiot)
(Really, if you are going to snark, go big or go home.)
However, things get even better when a clueless someone writes a romance novel think piece, and another someone, who is both a life-long fan, and a successful author, in the genre, takes the premise of the think piece, and writes an actual analysis of the trope in question.
Please note: comments on that post are closed because Ms Andrews is on deadline and thus unavailable to moderate at present; if you are so inclined, feel free to discuss here.
Also note: language in that post is rather on the adult side.
Final note: some of the books cited are in the middle of long series; if you are intrigued by the article and would like to read in the genre, but if you are also
anal erm…if you must read series in order, and would rather not commit to ten or sixteen books, I’ll be happy to offer alternative titles within similar categories.
And the very last note: There’s absolutely nothing wrong with not reading any genre that doesn’t spark your interest. Fans of that genre, however, would likely prefer that people who don’t read it, refrain from explaining it to them.