Saturday, January 30, 2010

All You Need Is Love (And an Emesis Basin)

This blog post is will begin with a shoutout to Joe who said I needed to hurry up and post something before he leaves on his trip tomorrow.  Holla!

I love books. LOVE books. I read while watching TV, sitting at stop lights (shhh), riding the train, before movies start - have book will read. You get the point. I read for pleasure almost exclusively. The types of books I read tend to be mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, or fantasy. I do not read romance and I do not read books that are about horrible lingering deaths. I’ve mentioned before my aversion to sad movies. This rule holds for books too. When I was much younger I read Sophie’s Choice and thought I’d never recover. Also, I don’t read teenage angst vampire porn. I might have to, though, just so I can say definitively that I don’t like it. I grew my hair out once for that very same reason. (shudder)

OK, back on topic. Here’s what drives me around the bend. When I’m choosing my next book and I read the cover and there’s an appropriate amount of people missing/bodies found/zombies reanimating I am happy. I feel utterly betrayed when I get into the story only to realize that I am being tricked TRICKED into reading a g**damned romance. Suddenly all the spooky events and plot twists are just a device to pressure two people together so that they can take comfort in each other’s arms. Barforama.

Now you’re probably wondering, Maia why do you hate love so much? I don’t. I swear. I have what I believe are perfectly valid reasons to hate this sub-genre (the romance in disguise). I will enumerate them here and you can decide for yourself if I am just an old grump.
  1. Did I mention how they’re tricky? The fact that they don’t openly fly the romance flag on the dust jacket summary tells me that they know this is some bullshit too.
  2. They follow the same couple of scripts every time:
    • Script 1: Woman is imperiled, man protects her, they fall in love. This kind typically has a lot of description of her trim, athletic body and his kind eyes. What it boils down to is that she is weak and can’t handle shit and he is turned on by her obvious need for a big strong daddy. Ugh. I hate them both.
    • Script 2: Woman and man are both strong (usually law enforcement ) types, they meet, she gets kidnapped and almost killed, he finds her and saves her life. The way the bad guy captures her is by some lame-ass ploy like sending a text message claiming to be from the good guy setting up a meet at an abandoned warehouse. Never mind the fact that our protagonists have never communicated by text prior to this point in the book. These books spend so much time describing the burgeoning love between the two of them that they can only support the most moronic of characters
    • Script 3: My favorite. The bad guy is doing bad guy things. Stalking, killing, whatever. He’s soooo bad. This version has a woman and at least two men involved. They’re all trying to solve the crimes. Teamwork! Sexual tension! One guy is really nice and pines from afar and the other one is dynamic and charming. Naturally, this is the guy our lady fair picks. (Moment of silence for that pioneer John Hughes, everyone). The book is nearing its end and terror still reigns but our romance is hot and heavy. Suddenly it all goes wrong. In a surprise twist we find out the Mr. Right is actually Mr. PsychoKillerQu'est-ceQueC'est . And by surprise twist I mean something that has been painfully obvious for at least 100 pages. And from this, ladies and gentlemen, we learn that you should always choose the quiet creepy dude who loves you from afar over the fun exciting dude who secretly wants to make you into a sofa cover. Rookie mistake.
  3. I guess most of my beefs can be distilled down to the fact that having a romantic plot line seems to give the author permission to completely phone in the rest of the story. They say that love makes people stupid and apparently so does writing about love. Which makes me stupid right now. Whoa. 
After rereading this, I can admit that I definitely sound like a crab. In the interest of full disclosure, I am also a terrible person to sit next to in movies because whenever a character busts out some hackneyed sappy line like, “I’ve loved you since the moment I laid eyes on you.” I roll my eyes pantomime gagging. After rereading that, it occurs to me that I might be kind of an ass. Huh.

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