Sunday, February 11, 2007

Love Or War

I loved thrillers in my teens and so did most of my compadres - we could not get enough of John Le Carre, Robert Ludlum and Helen MacInnes. Many of us girls were also into Mills and Boon romances on the sly.

Our parents generally disapproved of the saccharine romance genre a whole lot more than they did of spy thrillers though we were not entirely sure why. After all the rallying cry during their youth had been "Make love not war".

Maybe they wanted us to stop believing in the myth of Cinderella, get a decent education and a job that gave us financial independence. Since “The Bourne Supremacy” did not interfere with any of those objectives, it must have qualified as acceptable reading.

If only they had known that love of crime fiction is a sign of low self esteem, we may not have had to sneak our Harlequin romances inside school text books and risk the ire of the history teacher if caught. The article does not say anything about the predictability of romance novels or other genres and what that suggests about the self esteem of the reader.

I used to think that generic romance novels are a teenager's escape to the land of fairytales where Prince Charming comes on his silver Ferrari instead of a snow white steed. We know and expect endings to be faithful to the fairytale tradition and any departure is jarring and sure to disappoint the readership.

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