Tuesday, March 18, 2014

In Defense of the Romance Novel

We all have preconceptions about the romance novel.  They often have shallow characters, no development of their personalities.  The females are all usually delicate flowers that need to be rescued by the big strong man, or they're the bitchy girl that gets conquered by the man.

Is Fabio on the cover?  Then it's probably a romance novel.

These books don't exactly have any literary value.  They teach women to be accomidating, docile things, and that they can't get by without a man.  Likewise, it teaches women (and I suppose the handful of men that read them) that men have all the answers, all the smarts and need to take control of everything.

So why read these books?  Why would anyone ever pick up a novel like this?

Because sometimes, you NEED a book like that.  I love good books: books that make me think or cry or really challenges what I thought.  But sometimes, just sometimes, I want a book that I don't HAVE to think about it.  I want the ease of a book that has predictable plotlines, shallow characters and all the wrong messages.

Books like romance novels are great for the beach!  They're easy, fast reads that you can put down and pick back up with ease.  The stories aren't complex, so there isn't a lot of detail that I need to remember.  If I'm picking up something like Game of Thrones, I have to remember everything that's going on.  I really don't with something called, "Up Against the Wall" (real book, by the way.  It's currently the front runner at work for "Most Ridiculous Romance Novel Title.")

So am I going to sit here and tell you that Romance novels are the best books ever?  No, I'm not, because they're not.  But they are exactly what you need sometimes.


  1. I agree. Romance novels are my guilty pleasure. BUT, I will tell you that many that I have read have pretty good plots that build as the series goes on. As for "ridiculous romance titles", I read one called "Wallbanger" and was surprisingly good.

    1. Maybe that's the one we saw! Wallbanger! I don't know. Say what you will about it. I have a hard time believing a book called "Wallbanger" is anything but literary porn.

      However, sometimes, literary porn is exactly the kind of book you're in the mood to read.