Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Bad Rap for Romance

The other day I turned on the radio to the few stations we get out here in the boonies of Eastern Oregon. The John Tesh show was airing. I'm not a huge fan of his and all the statistics and such he rattles off. But that day he got my dander up.

John Tesh said half of the books sold are romance books. First off he has that figure wrong. It's closer to 75%. But then he went on to trash romance books because one psychologist said that romance books cause most of the problems with marriages. ??? Because the relationships in romance books aren't realistic women feel their spouses aren't up to snuff.

Excuse me! Are there that many gullible people out there that they take FICTION for fact? Are we such a dumb society that we believe there are men out there that behave like the fantasy heroes we romance writers make up? Granted we do model our heroes after a male we admire or love. And I'm sure there are men like the heroes in our books. But they are few and far between.

But what also bothered me is romance writers work hard at putting obstacles between the hero and heroine in the books. That's how we build tension and make the reader wonder if the two will have a happy ever after. Shouldn't women reading romance books not compare their husbands to the heroes but see that love isn't something that magically appears and makes life happy and grand. Love is something that sparks an interest but must be tended and worked for. You can't have a relationship that is all roses. There are hard times, and if you truly love the person, you work to find a way to stay together and keep the sparks alive. Not abandon ship the minute the perfume dies on the rose.

Romance books are about building a relationship that can stand the test of time.

What are your thoughts on romance?  Do you believe everything you read in a romance book or do you realize they are fiction and for your enjoyment?


Christine Young said...

Interesting, I too got angry when I was watching AM northwest a couple of days ago. There was a substitute to the duo, a lady and for some reason she got off on 'bodice rippers'. Then she'd giggle, and say she used to read them. Giggle, bodice rippers she said again and this went on for about three more giggles and saying 'bodice rippers.

Rain Trueax said...

I've written about this topic a lot. Romance is not respected by the 'intellectual' crowd and if they read it, they hide it. I just wrote about it again in today's blog on Rain Trueax.

I have read a lot of articles about the sociological impact of romance reading. Have a book on it actually. The average reader of romance has a happy marriage, a demanding career and they want escapism for a few hours as they read about the fantasy world. It gives them the energy to take back to their world-- often improves their sex life.

Some of the disdain they feel for romance is that readers 'should' read the books they want them to read, often depressing stories that lead to lack of hope. Or even something that is good like Life of Pi but leaves you unsure what happened. We see a lot of that in movies today.

To me romances are good for readers if it leads to happy energy and a feeling of hope. It though is definitely not a genre that gets a lot of respect. In the end though, you have to write what comes to you and romance is what comes to me-- respected or not by somebody else. I respect what I do and think the genre can be quite healthy for readers. I get it though that it's not how it is seen right now.

vicki batman said...

Hi, Paty! I speak on occasion and ask if the audience reads romance. Few raise hands. I then ask if they read so and so or so and so and then they raise hands. I say the author is a romance writer.

I like getting a great heave when a romance is over. I feel happy! What's wrong with reading something that makes one feel happy? Not a thing!

Some people are turned off romance because the plot is trite. Something all good writers try to avoid.

Sandy said...

Maybe this radio personality has marriage problems, and he's blaming it on romance books. The problem is him and not the books. Men need to read romances along with their wives, so they can learn how women want to be treated by men.

Paty Jager said...

Christine, I bet that same person would talk about 50 Shades without giggling. I don't get it. Thanks for stopping in.

Rain, I agree. A romance isn't read to compare, it's read to escape the every day doldrums. Thanks for commenting.

Hi Vicki, I agree. A romance is a book that after you finish reading leaves you in a good mood. And I think less and less authors are writing the trite plots. We have expanded our imaginations outside of what the publishers think the reader wants. Thank you for commenting and stopping in.

Sandy, that could be but more likely he has some minion who finds this information for him and he reads it without checking more than one source. I agree with the part if men read romance books they'd know what the woman wants. Thanks for stopping in and commenting!

Melissa Keir said...

I've enjoyed reading everyone's posts. I often got that comment from my ex-husband that the books I read were hurting our marriage. It wasn't that I expected him to be a shape shifting Alpha male but I did expect him to love me and treat me without emotional trauma. :)

I love romances because of the happily ever after. It gives me hope that everyone will find a happy relationship. Of course, I did end up finding a new husband and I'm living my own happily ever after. :)

Paty Jager said...

Melissa, Congrats on finding your HEA! Thanks for stopping in and commenting.