I stayed up last night reading a book I didn’t particularly care for, hoping that something interesting was coming. It didn’t — but that’s how it goes sometimes.
The story was listed as a contemporary romance and had many of the same issues that irritate me on a personal level in this genre (or any genre with an underlying romance like this). Before you ask, I keep reading books in this genre because there are gems that manage to be amazing without ticking me off as a reader.
Now, I’m not going to name the book or author because in this instance neither of those things matter since I’m going to generalize. These are problems that I think some authors perpetuate because it sells. I sincerely appreciate the ones who take a different approach though.
So – on to the generalizations!!
- The “alpha” A-hole with a capital A: This guy is an uber-jerk ( yea I’m dating myself, no one says uber anymore) who speaks to everyone as if he not only created the universe but owns the deed to everyone and everything in it. He threatens, manipulates, is usually a control-freak, and doesn’t take any version of no for an answer – even when he really should. He nearly always seems to get a pass for his horrible behavior because “he’s just so hot; had such an awful last relationship; insert generic excuse here”…
- Female interest of these stories: They can bill her as strong and independent, broken and in need of healing or struggling with a sick family member or single motherhood, but when push comes to shove against Mr. ‘Tude, it all boils down to how she becomes a helpless slave to her body’s lust as soon as he so much as breathes in her direction. She has no pride at all and his touch is guaranteed to turn her into a puddle of goo on whatever surface is closest. She half-heartedly gives a NO that he never listens to and instead of being forceful and making it stick – her internal dialogue is sickening in how she claims to want him to touch her so badly after he’s just been a tool. Seriously? Ick! Don’t say no if you don’t mean it but if you say it make it stick. Oh and –when– does she finally find her pride? For a short time toward the end of the book when whatever deception they’ve written into the plot comes to light – the resolution of which is usually weak in this particular brand of romance – but for that short amount of time….boy her pride is suddenly everything.
If you have one of the stories that does toss in a sick parent or young child that’s supposedly this person’s entire life up until Captain Craptastic hits the scene,
they might be mentioned briefly here and there while the two mains manage to find multiple opportunities to sneak off and grope each other.
I get that priorities change a bit if you are trying to date someone. I understand that you can be physically attracted to a jerk, until he opens his mouth. But really – how can you imagine a Happily Ever After or a Happy For Now ending with someone who regularly makes you wonder just how bad jail time might be for a homicide.
To finish my little rant here, I should qualify that it isn’t always a male/female relationship gone wrong. Sometimes it’s m/m or f/f or a menage issue. Sometimes I’ve seen the roles reversed where the guy is amazing or a bit of a carpet and the girl is a SuperHeifer. The point is the same. That doesn’t hit my radar as romantic. It’s just bad, unhealthy relationships where people can’t share themselves or their thoughts truthfully.
Then again – this is all just my opinion.